Based on the increasing importance of oil, governments are becoming more relevant in securing the benefits of oil, both on the supply and on the demand side. This puts a higher emphasis on political negotiations and deals, and increases the risks for nationalizations of resources and key exploration activities.
I mentioned Bi-Lateral agreements between states and also between states and private oil companies (in other states) in another thread, in this one lets discuss the changing relationship between states and private oil companies within their own borders.
Most peak oil forecasts seem to assume a "Free Market" where supply can satisfy demand regardless of political boundaries, all that matters is how much is produced, how much is desired and what is the ability to pay. Most forecasts then do not account for what is the obvious fly in the ointment, national self interest.
The constraints of growing consumption in export land and bi-lateral production agreements are making producers much less free to simply sell to the highest bidder. State owned oil already accounts for 75% of oil production and with a majority of oil reserves found in countries ranked by Transparency International as "most corrupt" the potential for further nationalization is high. Out of 180 countries ranked, Iraq is number 176, Venezuela 162, Nigeria 130, and that number is probably going to increase.
Earlier this year the King of the Kingdom said KSA needs to leave some oil in the ground for future generations - that's the Export Land Idea of constraint. China entering an agreement with Iraq to develop the Rumalla oil field is the Bi-Lateral constraint. Russia revoked Shell's environmental permit forcing it to give up half it's percentage and giving Gazprom majority ownership - that's the nationalization constraint. Nationalization of course, allows countries the ability to proceed to either keep all their oil for their own use or to make bi-lateral agreements with other, friendly, countries.
I read that states already own most of the oil on land and the international oil companies (IOCs)have been pushed into the deep oceans - but the BP spill now gives the countries that want to use it a good excuse to make exploration and production even more expensive for those companies and of course less so for the national company. The IOCs still have the edge in technology and downstream infrastructure.
At what point along the spectrum of decline will the "free market" aspect of oil production effectively end?
At what point will the importing countries, "liberal democracy" or not, be forced to nationalize their energy infrastructure? Or will they only levi tariffs, windfall profits taxes and other trade barriers?
http://www.wikinvest.com/concept/Oil's_ ... Turbulence
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_I ... il_Company
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 90852.html
http://www.cfr.org/publication/12089/ve ... onomy.html