The Rise of Non-Western National Oil Companies: Transformation of the Neoliberal Global Energy Order?
Some time before the financial crisis hit the global political economy, emanating from the very epicentre of the neoliberal heartland, a development had manifested itself within the global energy sector that was widely perceived to challenge its neoliberal structure. This development was mainly characterized by the re-emergence of resource nationalism in major producing regions of the world (e.g., Venezuela, Russia) and the outward expansion of non-Western state-owned major oil companies (such as Gazprom and several Chinese oil companies) (WIR 2007: 116–122; BCG 2007). As a result, and in combination with growing demand from the so called ‘emerging economies’, exponentially rising oil prices, the policitization of climate change and waning legitimacy of US power, energy security reappeared high on the political agenda (e.g., European Commission 2007b; CFR 2006; Cheney et al. 2001). Testifying to the threat that this was perceived to be to the industries’ ‘vested interests’, waves of ‘new protectionism’ erupted within core neoliberal market economies, in spite of their prophesized belief in the beneficial imperatives of a global free and open market. A well-known example is the blocking by US Congress of the takeover of American oil corpo-ration Unocal by CNOOC (Chinese National Offshore Oil Company), one of the major Chinese state-owned oil companies.
KeywordsEnergy Order Corporate Network Corporate Elite Saudi Aramco Global Energy Market
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