OPEC, the Petroleum Industry, and United States Energy Policy

By Arabinda Ghosh | Go to book overview

8
OPEC Versus the Oil- Consuming World

1.

Fuel-oil companies in the United States used to come around in the summer and clean the furnace free. In 1974, after the Arab oil boycott and the beginning of the energy crisis, they sent notices offering the service for $28. They also began imposing a service charge on customers who did not pay their bills within thirty days. This rude turnabout, not to mention the manifold jumps in the price of heating oil, illustrates many changes in American business and in personal lifestyles that have resulted from the Arab oil embargo with its fivefold markup of oil prices within a year.

Thus ended the long era of cheap energy that had helped propel America to industrial and political greatness. Energy touches all aspects of economic life. OPEC's savage price increases plus the awareness of the oil- consuming countries that foreign supplies can be uncertain have also hiked the price of coal. Electricity costs, especially those of coastal utilities that burn imported oil, have rocketed, as customers from Maine to Florida know all too well.

At the gas pump, prices in the United States averaged $1.35 a gallon for regular gasoline in 1982 compared to 39.7 cents in October 1973, when the Arab oil embargo began. The embargo lasted for five months, from November 1973 to March 1974, but the energy crisis that ensued left its permanent imprint on our everyday lives. By an act of the U.S. Congress, the highway speed limit is fifty-five miles an hour in order to conserve gas. The President has asked the people to form commuter car pools, to walk, or to ride a bicycle for shorter trips, and overall, to drive 5 percent less--all for the sake of reducing the country's oil imports from and dollar outflow to OPEC nations. "Even for America, a continental nation that has fancied itself a land of plenty, scarcity is the new reality." 1

-133-

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OPEC, the Petroleum Industry, and United States Energy Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures ix
  • Tables xi
  • Preface xv
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • 1 - Introduction 3
  • Notes 16
  • 2 - The Emergence of Opec 17
  • Notes 35
  • 3 - The Pricing Mechanism of Opec 36
  • Notes 49
  • 4 - Opec and the Multinational Oil Companies 50
  • Notes 64
  • 5 - U.S. Oil Industry: Changing Structure and Performance 65
  • Notes 87
  • 6 - U.S. Oil Industry: Acquisition and Diversification 89
  • Notes 106
  • 7 - Petro-Dollars and Economic Change in OPEC Nations 107
  • Notes 132
  • 8 - Opec versus the Oil-Consuming World 133
  • Notes 148
  • 9 - Strategy against Opec: Henry Kissinger and the Energy Crisis 149
  • Notes 160
  • 10 - Facing the Energy Crisis: U.S. Policy under the Nixon-Ford Administration 161
  • Notes 174
  • 11 - Presidents Carter and Reagan and the National Energy Policy 176
  • Notes 187
  • 12 - The Future of Opec 188
  • Notes 197
  • Selected Bibliography 199
  • Index 203
  • About the Author 206
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