Access to Energy. 2000 and After by Melvin A. Conant

By Melvin A. Conant

Conant explores how the transformation of oil from a advertisement commodity to a strategic uncooked fabric have replaced the face of global power politics. In an more and more interdependent international, Conant questions definitely the right of any state to withold very important provides from different nations.

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This occurred while some producers in the Middle East were extracting advance tax payments; the difference between the two approaches illustrates the heavier clout of Venezuela and the greater artfulness of its tactics. By the end of the decade, the Venezuelan Oil Corporation was established to become the primary instrument of Venezuelan government oil operations. Concession System / 43 The world oil market was then in surplus and the international majors felt compelled to reduce their posted price, which they did unilaterally, without the agreement of producer governments.

One of the most consequential occurred in Indonesia under the direction of General Ibnù, who produced a major and farsighted set of policies. It was General Ibnu's conviction that the political connotations of a concession system whose origins lay in the Dutch colonial period could no longer be accepted. He compelled the majors to accept a variety of other arrangements generally embraced within the concepts of "service contracts" or "production-sharing" agreements. The com- Concession System / 35 mon denominator of these was ownership of the oil by Indonesia, with the contracts between oil companies and PERTAMINA, the Indonesian government oil monopoly—a far different relationship from the one embedded in the concession system.

In such a situation, Japan could face the prospect of growing Chinese and Soviet competition over access to oil in the Middle Eastern market. If such a situation occurred against the backdrop of a Japanese perception that the United States had access to Saudi reserves for its own use and was channeling them to meet its own rising import needs, Japan might be forced to seek out new special relationships with potentially energy-resource rich nations such as the Soviet Union or Australia. A decision to do so would have strategic implications far transcending present questions of access to energy.

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