Edited by Hugh Dyer and Maria Julia Trombetta
Chapter 4: Resource conflicts: energy worth fighting for?
Because of its significant role in fuelling modern industrial economies and military forces, oil has been the subject of domestic and international politics and conflicts. The history of the international oil market and energy security has been one of prolonged conflicting interests, where both the major oil exporting and the industrialised consuming countries have resorted to various strategies to ensure security of supply and of demand or to influence prices, in such a way to meet individual interest. ‘From the nineteenth-century battles over the Caspian Sea to the two Gulf Wars, oil has been the prize in numerous military conflicts’ (Spero and Hart, 2003:229–30). In the same way the conflicts about offshore tracts in the Gulf of Guinea between Nigeria and Cameroon at Bakassi Peninsula, and between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea at the Zafiro undersea oil field, were on oil (Klare, 2001:230). Conflicts over oil resources in many producing countries are generally at two levels: the first, at the macro level, involves international oil companies (IOCs) and governments in the global North; the second is at local level in the oil producing countries. I argue that the main aim is to secure energy security by constant access to cheap oil and gas at reasonable prices, through engaging in whatever means possible and necessarily, including military interventions.
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