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Research Projects

FY 2008/2009 Research Topic: 4-13
Political Economy of Oil Industry in Developing Countries


The oil price has shown a historical surge in recent years, finally surpassing a hundred US dollar per barrel in 2008. There are many factors responsible for the historical price hike, among which are the accelerated growth of oil demand in the developing countries, such as China and India, the tightness in the refining sector, and the inflow of capital, especially speculative investment to the oil market at the weakening of US dollar.
This study rather focuses on the changes in the supply side, the oil producing countries, of the international oil industry in recent years. Since the nationalization of the oil industry in many oil producing countries in the 1960s and the 1970s, national oil companies (NOCs) of the developing countries have emerged as the largest oil producers in the world. NOCs may receive strong government intervention upon their management, depending on the relationship with them. The game for the piece of pie (oil rent) now is not the one between foreign oil companies and the government, but is played among national actors, such as the president, the congress, NOC and its managers, local governments, local residents and ethnic groups.
This study consists of two groups. The first group is the one which analyzes the relationship between NOCs and the government (Russia, Venezuela, China, and Indonesia). The second group analyzes the cases in which local voices, such as local government and ethinic groups, have been important factors in policies and the performance of the oil industry (Iraq, Nigeria, and Ecuador).


Members of the Research Project

WATANABE Masaaki (temporarily assigned to UN Iraq)
HORII Nobuhiro (Associate Professor, Univ. of Kyushu)
ITO Shoichi (Researcher, ERINA)
ARAKI Hidekazu (Associate Professor, Univ. of Kanagawa)