The Global Oil System: Resources, Technology, and US Policy | New School University | GradEcon5130 | Summer 2005
Class Home Page for Grad Econ 5130:

The Global Oil System: Resources, Technology, and US Policy
The New School University For Social and Political Research
New York City | 06 June - 27 July 2005

The New School University Graduate Faculty | Graduate Economics Department | NS GF Summer Program

Credit:  3.0
Course number: GECO 5130
Time:  Mon & Wed, 6:00 - 7:50
Place:  New School Grad. Faculty, 65 5th Avenue, Room 203
Instructor:  Tom O'Donnell
  Home Page: CV & courses
  Visiting from: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Office Hours:   Mon. & Wed. 8:00 PM

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SITE INDEX Last update
SYLLABUS 07jun05
Class description 03jun05
Required text and books 03jun05
Grading 03jun05
Invited speakers 03jun05
Films & videos 03jun05

Assignments (clik here)

Student research BLOGS (experimental):
Oil & Democracy | Adam J.
Amazon Region | David B.
Venezuela | Eddie R.
Venezuela | Justin & Fernando
US oil policy | Cheryl M.
Oil Market | Alberto H.
Oil & Iraq | Hope K.
Algeria | Anon
Class E-mail Archive

Click here for the SYLLABUS

Course description:

In this course on the global political-economy of oil, we first examine the facts about global oil resources and infrastructures, including reserves, demand, productive capacity, depletion rates, price history, and the persistence of oil as the basis of transportation everywhere.

From this basis, we explore the international oil system, including the oil-producing nations' OPEC cartel, and the First-World consumers' International Energy Agency (IEA) cartel; the special role of IEA members' strategic oil reserves; of Saudi Arabia as an "oil-price swing state"; and the roles of Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, the UAE, Russia, the Caspian Basin, and of Latin American and African producers.

We then examine the phases of US global oil strategy since WWII and the issue of US predominant influence (hegemony) in the oil system. This includes the period after the 1973 embargo, the 1991 Gulf War, the Iraq-sanctions regime, and the occupation of Iraq, followed by OPEC joining with the US-IEA to form the "Permanent Secretariat" of the International Energy Forum-a major step in energy globalization.

We examine the emerging crises in the global oil system, including China's exploding oil demand which threatens cheap oil and its addictive hold over the oil-poor EU, Japan, and China. We see how the Cheney Energy Plan is pressing all oil-producing nations to accept large private investments to expand production, for transparency, and to establish a new level of global market-control institutions.

We end by soberly examining the consequences of the current global oil system for fighting global warming, and for retarding transportation-infrastructure modernization within the US and its main economic rivals-increasingly oil- and automobile-addicted consuming states which lack domestic oil supplies-the EU Japan, India and China.

- Requirements: readings, seminar participation, current-events reports, research paper.

NOTE: Books are all available at
Barnes & Noble 18th St., 105 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10003. (212)675-5500

Required text and books Author Cited herein as Comments
Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil
, Norton, NY, 2004.
David Goodstein [Goodstein04] Author is professor of physics, and Vice Provost of Cal Tech.
Hubbert's Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage, Princeton, Princeton NJ, 2001. Kenneth S. Deffeyes [Deffeyes01] Author is emeritus professor of oil geology at Princeton U., was an associate of M. King Hubbert at Shell Oil in Huston in 1950-60s.
Resource Wars: The New Landscape of global Conflict, Owl Books, NY, 2002 (earlier hardcover by Metropolitan Books, 2001) Michael T. Klare [Klare02] 2002 edition has new Introduction by author. Author is director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College, Amherst, Mass.
Blood and Oil : The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum (The American Empire Project), Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt Co., 2004) Michael T. Klare [Klare04] Author is director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College, Amherst, Mass.
The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power,1993, 1991 Daniel Yergan [Yergan93] Author is president of Cambridge Energy Associates, Cambridge, Mass. An eight-part PBS mini-series based on this book was made in 1992.


Activity Points
e-log news & analysis research  33
Class participation & prep  33
Research paper  33
Total: 100
Link to UM Academic Calendar:

Invited speakers, class tours, demonstrations, films and videos:

Speaker Topic Date
To be announced To be announced ddmmmyy

Video Topic, reference Date
Hudson Institute, Conference: "Saudi Arabia in Crisis" 09jul04 "The Implications of Saudi Arabian Oil Declining," talk by by Matthew R. Simmons, oil industry financial analyst, Simmons & Company International. C_SPAN video link T.B.A.

II. Syllabus <- click here for syllabus