The Prospects for a New International Petroleum Order
With OPEC no longer dominating the world oil scene and the ideology of North-South confrontation having been eroded, a new international oil order is emerging. Although its character is not yet well-defined, it rests basically on mutual recognition that a "cooperative game" can be played. The most striking manifestations are a renewal of vertical integration, with the return of multinational oil companies to activities in the exporting countries, and the new involvement of those countries in downstream activities in the importing countries. The result will be greater medium-term stability. Another more subtle aspect could materialize - a regular dialogue between exporting countries, the multinationals, and importing countries, which would encourage a greater degree of common interest and expectations. The institution of such a dialogue depends on the United States and Saudi Arabia, who currently determine the rules which govern the international oil market and who favour bilateralism.
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