Liberalisation. Integration and Specialisation: The Restructuring of the European Oil Industry
Øystein Noreng Purpose of the Chapter The overall aim of the chapter is to analyse the forces that contribute to changing the European oil industry in the direction of privatisation and competitive markets, distinguishing between upstream and downstream operations. The first part of the chapter discusses the general European trend toward deregulation and privatisation of the oil industry, within the context of general conditions that provoke changes in the worldwide oil industry, emphasising the role of the European Commission in imposing such changes on often recalcitrant EU member states. The second part of the paper will focus on conditions in the North Sea oil industry, emphasising differences between Norway and the United Kingdom in coping with oil industry change, and the potential impact of electricity and gas market liberalisation. The objective is not to present a firm picture of the future structure of the European oil industry, but rather to present the dynamics that lead to continuous change.