Historical Social Research

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Jonathan Kuiken: Caught in Transition: Britain’s Oil Policy in the Face of Impending Crisis, 1967-1973. [Abstract]

This paper examines the challenges faced by British policy makers in years preceding the 1973 oil crisis. Despite an acute appreciation of the impending changes to the structure of the international oil industry, British officials were unable to formulate new policies to mitigate the impact of this changing situation. The inability or unwillingness of policy makers to act stemmed from three interconnected factors: the Government’s desire to transition away from its reliance on its two domestically-based oil companies, BP and Shell, for oil policy information and advice, Government confusion over how best to utilize the newfound resources of the North Sea, and a lack of clear lines of authority within the Government regarding oil policy decision-making.

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