fossilfuelopolis

Prospecting the academic grounds on global energies patterns

How to navigate this website?

This website aims to provide a cleared path into the appreciation of:

  • Why and how our economies rely on fossil fuels (hydrocarbons)
  • An historical based story of oil dependency, oil trade, and oil dominance.

As oil and gas gradually develop into becoming fundamental commodities (while coal was in decline in Western Europe and America- but still prominent in Asia), their markets (originally, place where a seller meets a buyer) expand. This increasing reliance on oil marked the United States before the WWII but expand to Europe (France, Germany, UK, Spain…) between the 50s and the 70s.

The United States where thus the place of the first oil market (NYMEX) and this commodity (as many others) is still today traded in dollars. The links between the dollar and those highly strategic and traded commodities (oil and gas) should be addressed on the page petrocurrency.  

In the post-War world, the stuttering quest for oil started in the early XXe intensified; and the market was dominated by 7 majors International Oil companies (IOCs) known as the 7 Sisters.  They went exploring Africa and the Middle East in search for oil fields and wells. The Middle East and Saudi Arabia regions were so cost-promising that the United-States once oil exporters (to Europe) prefer to import their oil from there to fuel their two-digit economical growth of the 50s. Further historical aspects are developed on this page.

  • A useful discrimination to understand trade patterns for oil and gas commodities is to distinguish between importers and producers (exporters)- except for the United States and somehow China, classifying countries as producers or importers of hydrocarbons resources is quite straightforward.

In the section “producers of fossil fuels” we started a depiction of common characteristics of oil and gas producers. In particular, one of the most burning interest of researchers (mainly in political economy) was to understand why we tend to observe rather low economic diversification (a result of the Dutch Disease), a tendency to exhibit high inequalities (in assets and income) and specifically for some African countries (Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan…) and South-American countries low social development indexes (whereas the revenues from the hydrocarbons resources could be an advantage as compared to their poorer neighbors), higher probability of entering conflicts, higher perceived corruption or also frequently cited lack of transparency. We might not addressed further those political issues but the reader could find helpful informations in the References section.

Detailed depictions of the main characteristics of oil and gas producers can be found in the Geography section, which still need to be completed. This section mainly aims to give the reader concrete examples of the rather abstract theories developed in the others sections.

  • Commodities haven’t escape the recent “financiarization” of markets. Jorg Mayer observe that […]. The debate between economists on the efficient market hypothesis, namely.. The market for energies commodities will be lengthily described on this page. And the central problematic initiating our researches, the oil price surge of the early 2000s should be addressed.

Finally, any information which can not be classified specifically into sections and/or can make the subject of personal analysis is posted on the posts page.

 

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