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Free Content Editorial Introduction: 'The International Politics of Oil'

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Abstract:

The contemporary global economy is premised upon energy consumption. Industry and transportation lie at the heart of economic development, and both have come to depend upon sustainable access to hydrocarbons. Alongside gas and coal, oil is particularly significant as a source of energy. While other fossil fuels can be used in electricity production, there are few reliable substitutes for oil in transportation, and it continues to be widely used in industrial production. Demand for oil was around 75 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2000, and the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that it may nearly double by 2030. There have long been concerns about whether the current rate of consumption is sustainable from an environmental and economic perspective. The so-called 'peak oil' debate has deliberated over the point at which the world would reach its highest point of oil production, claimed to represent the half-way point of total exploitation of global reserves. With diminishing supply and rising prices, ongoing oil dependency is widely recognised to have serious economic consequences. Significantly, however, the implications of ongoing consumption, production, and extraction of oil go far beyond economics; they are profoundly political. ...

Document Type: Editorial

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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