The Official History of North Sea Oil and Gas: Vol. I: The Growing Dominance of the State (Hardback) book cover

The Official History of North Sea Oil and Gas

Vol. I: The Growing Dominance of the State

By Alex Kemp

© 2012 – Routledge

640 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138019034
pub: 2014-03-28
Hardback: 9780415447546
pub: 2011-09-15
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203806241
pub: 2013-03-01
from $54.95

FREE Standard Shipping!


Written by the leading expert in UK petroleum economics, this study provides a new, unique, in-depth analysis of the development of British policies towards the North Sea oil and gas industry from the early 1960s to the early 1980s.

Drawing on full access to the UK Government’s relevant archives, Alex Kemp examines the thinking behind the initial legislation in 1964, the early licensing arrangements and the events leading up to the boundary delimitation agreements with Norway and other adjacent North Sea countries. He explains the debate in the later 1960s about the appropriate role of the state in the exploitation of the gas and oil resources, the prolonged negotiations resulting in the early long-term gas contracts, and the continuing debate on the role of the state following the large oil discoveries in the first half of the 1970s resulting in the formation of BNOC (British National Oil Corporation). The debate leading up to the introduction of, and subsequent increase in, the Petroleum Revenue Tax is fully explained as is the introduction of Supplementary Petroleum Duty. The author also outlines the debates around interventionist depletion policies and on how the oil revenues should best be utilised.

The Official History of North Sea Oil and Gas will be of much interest to students of North Sea oil and gas, energy economics, business history, and British politics, as well as to petroleum professionals and policymakers.


'[The Official History of North Sea Oil and Gas] provides numerous lessons for policymakers in today's emerging hydro-carbon producers to learn from.' - Petroleum Economist, February 2012

'Brilliantly written' - William Keegan, Observer

'A voluminous and impressive piece of work, and it is based on a unique pool of archival material. Policy makers and government officials can clearly learn important lessons from the fascinating history of North Sea oil and gas.' - René Taudal Poulsen, International Journal of Maritime History, Volume 24, 1, June 2012

Table of Contents

1. Initial Legislation and Licensing 2. The Early North Sea Boundary Issues 3. What Role for the State? 4. The First Gas Contracts 5. The Coming of Oil, the Fourth Round Controversy and its Consequences 6. Further Gas Developments and the Frigg Contracts 7. Designing the Tax Package 8. Providing for BNOC and Enhanced State Control 9. The New Policy in Action: State Participation 10. The New Policy in Action: Further Licensing and Related Issues 11. Increasing the Government Take 12. Depletion and Conservation Policies 13. Utilising the Benefits. Conclusions to Volume 1

About the Author

Alex Kemp is Professor of Petroleum Economics and Director, Aberdeen Centre for Research in Energy Economics and Finance (ACREEF) at the University of Aberdeen. He has published widely on the licensing and taxation aspects of the relationship between the oil companies and Governments, with particular reference to the North Sea. From 1993 to 2003 Professor Kemp was a member of the Energy Advisory Panel to the DTI. He has also advised many other Governments, companies, and the World Bank on petroleum licensing and taxation. In 2006 he was awarded the OBE for services to the oil and gas sector.

About the Series

Government Official History Series

The Government Official History series began in 1919 with wartime histories, and the peacetime series was inaugurated in 1966 by Harold Wilson. The aim of the series is to produce major histories in their own right, compiled by historians eminent in the field, who are afforded free access to all relevant material in the official archives. The Histories also provide a trusted secondary source for other historians and researchers while the official records are not in the public domain. The main criteria for selection of topics are that the histories should record important episodes or themes of British history while the official records can still be supplemented by the recollections of key players; and that they should be of general interest, and, preferably, involve the records of more than one government department.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Services