Soviet Oil and the Third World

  • Biplab Dasgupta


Whenever we talk about oil we usually think of the Middle East. This is only natural; the Middle East accounts for a third of the world’s crude oil production, and for three-fifths of world oil exports, in addition to owning more than half of the world’s proved oil resources.1 But the Middle East is not a country, it is a region containing a group of countries. If we take individual countries into account, the United States and the Soviet Union emerge as the two largest oil-producing nations of the world.2 Ever since the birth of the modern petroleum industry in the 1850s these two countries have almost always been at the top of the league of the oil-producing countries.3 What differentiates them is their high rate of self-consumption (unlike the Middle East which despite its enormous oil wealth consumes only 3 per cent of world oil production), which leaves no exportable surplus — in fact, a growing deficit in the case of the United States, and a comparatively small surplus in the case of the USSR. Hence, their impact on trade in oil is much less than proportionate to their production.


Middle East Socialist Country Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum Economist Soviet Export 
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  1. 10.
    Zuhayer Mikdashi, The Community of Oil Exporting Countries: A Study of Governmental Cooperation (London, 1972).Google Scholar
  2. 11.
    Harold Lubell, The Soviet Oil Offensive and Inter-Bloc Economic Competition (Rand Corporation, 1961).Google Scholar
  3. 25.
    Biplab Dasgupta, the Oil Industry in India: Some Economic Aspects (London, 1971) pp. 58–60.Google Scholar
  4. 64.
    Lawrence R. Marks, Communist Bloc Oil: A Report fo Investors in International Oil (1959).Google Scholar
  5. 75.
    Petroleum International (November 1974); Petroleum Economist (September 1974, January 1975).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Deepak Nayyar 1977

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  • Biplab Dasgupta

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