1st Edition

Ownership and Control of Oil Explaining Policy Choices across Producing Countries

By Bianca Sarbu Copyright 2014
    218 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Ownership and Control of Oil examines government decisions about how much control to exert over the petroleum industry, focusing on the role of National Oil Companies in the production of crude oil since the nationalizations in the 1970s.

    • What are the motives for which some producing states opt for less and NOT more control of their oil production sector?
    • When can International Oil Companies enter the upstream industry of producing states and under what conditions?

    The diversity of policy choices across producers provides the stage for this investigation: different theoretical explanations are confronted, with the empirical evidence, with the aim of finally proposing an interdisciplinary framework of analysis to explain who controls oil production around the world.

    This book is intended for both specialists and general readers who have an interest in the issue of government control of the petroleum industry. Due to its multidisciplinary approach, the book is aimed at a large academic public composed of scholars of Political Science, International Political Economy, Comparative Politics, and Middle East Area Studies. Moreover, this book should be relevant to international consultants, industry professionals and decision-makers in countries assessing their experience with existing control structures as well as the many countries in the process of joining the ‘petroleum club’ of oil producing nations.

    1. Rethinking the Ownership and Control of Oil  1. The Rising and Waning Star of IOCs  2. Empirical Puzzle and Research Question. The Picture since the 1970s  3. The Research Relevance  4. Roadmap  2. Upstream Sector Policy in the Oil Industry  1. The Political Economy of the Oil Sector  1.1. The Institutional Set-Up for Policy-Making in the Oil Sector  1.2. The Commercial versus Non-Commercial Ends of the Range  2. Upstream Sector Policy  2.1. Conceptual Insights  2.2. State Control versus Economic Performance  2.3. Upstream Sector Policy Tools  2.3.1. NOC Creation  .2.3.2. Other Tools Legal Arrangements Fiscal Systems  3. Current Readings of Energy Studies and Theory Development  1. Review of Drivers and Drives in the Energy Sector  1.1. Technical Explanations  1.2. Economic Explanations  1.3. Institutional Explanations  1.3.1. Domestic Institutions Preferences in the Domestic Arena Domestic Institutional Constraints  1.3.2. International Institutions  2. The Analytical Framework – Explaining Oil Upstream Sector Policies Worldwide  2.1. The Context  2.2. Domestic Constraints  2.3. Hypotheses  4. A Statistical Analysis of Oil Upstream Sector Policies across the World  1. The Sample  1.1. Sampling Criteria  1.2. Data Construction  2. Data Operationalization and Data Sources  2.1. Dependent Variable: ‘De Facto’ Control as Ratio  2.2. Independent Variables  2.3. Control Variables  3. Statistical Tools  4. Results  4.1. The Context  4.2. Domestic Constraints  4.3. Alternative Explanations  5. Conclusions to the Statistical Analysis  5. Mirroring the Cases of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi  1. Case Selection  2. Primary Data Collection through Semi-Structured Interviews  3. Closed Upstream Sector: Saudi Arabia  3.1. Historical Contingencies  3.2. The Analytical Framework against the Saudi Empirics  3.2.1. The Context  3.2.2. Domestic Constraints  4. Open Upstream Sector: Abu Dhabi  4.1. Historical Contingencies  4.2. The Analytical Framework against Abu Dhabi’s Empirics  4.2.1. The Context  4.2.2. Domestic Constraints  5. Conclusions to the Case Studies  6. Conclusions  1. Comparative Results of the Empirical Analysis  2. Revised Analytical Framework  3. Final Remarks  3.1. Contributions, Limitations, and Research Ways Forward  3.2. Quo Vadis?


    Bianca Sarbu is a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Her research spans the field of energy studies with a particular focus on the oil industry, National Oil Companies and International Oil Companies, political and country risks, and the political economy of oil producing countries. For the 2011/ 2012 academic year, Bianca was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Washington DC, USA.

    "From first impression to midway scrutiny, all the way up to ultimate conclusion, Sarbu’s treatment of the subject at hand is solid. Its an invaluable contribution towards wider understanding and contextualisation of policy frameworks within emerging and established oil producing countries and the impact they have had or are likely to have for better or worse." - Gaurav Sharma, Oilholics Synonymous Report