The Politics of the Global Oil Industry
An Introduction
by Toyin Falola, Ann Genova
September 2005, 280pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-275-98400-7
$65, £50, 57€, A90
Paperback: 978-0-313-36184-5
$35, £27, 31€, A48
eBook Available: 978-0-313-02677-5
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Introduces the most important aspects of the oil industry and offers cogent and up-to-date information about the countries, companies, and people who shape the contemporary history of oil.

The petroleum industry is among the most lucrative and most important in the world, and its impact within the realm of international politics is tremendous (although it can be overstated). Taking a well-balanced and objective approach to the complicated web of political and economic threads that make up the fabric of the oil industry, Falola and Genova introduce the most salient aspects in clear language, offering cogent and up-to-date information about the countries, companies, international organizations, and people who shape the contemporary history of the black gold.

The relationship of international politics and the global oil industry affects everyone but is understood by few. Taking a well-balanced and objective approach to deconstructing this intricate web for those unfamiliar with the industry, Falola and Genova introduce the major players in the field, offering cogent and up-to-date information about the countries, companies, organizations, and people who shape the contemporary history of oil. They break down the essentials, describing the discovery process, the different types of oil, and the various processes by which oil gets to the market. Then they provide a brief history of the major oil-producing countries, followed by a discussion of OPEC and international efforts to control the price and supply of oil. After setting the stage, they introduce the most salient political issues that are influenced by oil, namely environmental protection, human rights, and economic development. Finally, a look at each of seven major oil exporters—Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela—demonstrates that the black gold can be both a blessing and a curse for the countries that produce it.

Despite the need to learn how to exploit alternative energy sources before the oil runs out, we will continue to be dependent on oil for the foreseeable future. Today’s oil demands are not only generated by such obvious activities as gassing up our cars or powering our aircraft, but also from the ubiquitous technological gadgets that have infiltrated our daily lives. From computer monitors to CDs, from cell phones to the petroleum-generated materials used in our shoes and sweaters, our reliance on oil continues to grow. Because price and supply are highly dependent on political events in distant countries, it is essential for American consumers to understand the intricacies of this complex subject. Falola and Genova demystify the industry and invite us to investigate more deeply this vital resource.


"Falola and Genova succeeded well in producing an introductory work on the global oil industry in which the main issues, concepts, practices and players are discussed in plain, straightforward language. This makes the book highly accessible to students studying the oil industry for the first time, and general readers trying to make some sense of the changing nature of the oil industry and the way in which it influences their lives."—KLEIO A Journal of Historical Studies from Africa, January 1, 2006

"[A]n interesting introduction to a very large topic....The Politics of the Global Oil Industry gives the reader a place to start in trying to understand these issues."—Political Science Quarterly, January 1, 2007

"[T]his book is accessible to students and lay readers. Another strength is the authors' demonstrable familiarity with and insight into the political impact of oil in various countries....[a] ready reference work for readers not conversant with the conventional highlights of global oil politics."—HISTORY, January 1, 2006

"Access to oil is the key, the precipitating factor for understanding the roots of twenty-first century war, revolution and the societal marginalization and economic deprivations that persists in the live of people of African descent. Whether in the United States, Latin America or Africa, the starting point for interpreting the black experience today, then, requires a basic knowledge of competing oil producing nations and their markets. This remarkable study is the starting point."—Juliet E. K. Walker, Center for Black Business History, Entrepreneuership, Technology, University of Texas at Austin

"Oil is a crucial part of the economic life-blood of most nations. It is remarkable that Professors Toyin Falola and Ann Genova have painstakingly researched the Politics of the Global Industry, a book that will truly stand the test of time and usage. The authors deserve high commendation because their work, due to its sterling quality, will benefit students, the general readers as well as oil professionals, who are interested in reading about this crucial industry."—A.B. Assensoh, Ph.D., Professor and Director of Graduate Studies and Admissions, Department of African American Diaspora Studies, Indiana University-Bloomington

"Falola and Genova are to be congratulated for this timely and extremely useful study. It should prove very useful to policymakers and others who are interested in restructuring the global oil industry to make it an instrument for poverty eradication and economic development."—John Mukum Mbaku, Ph.D., Willard L. Eccles Professor of Economics and John S. Hinckley Fellow, Weber State University
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