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Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Energy and Geo-Environmental Engineering (EGEE)

EGEE 120 (GS;US;IL) Oil: International Evolution (3) Survey of the commercial development of the world petroleum industry from various international, historical, business, and cultural perspectives.

EGEE 120 Oil: International Evolution (3)
(GS;US;IL)

Oils is the world's most important commodity. Access to oil was decisive in the great military struggles of the 20th century. The economic and strategic value of oil has led to the evolution of a fascinating array of business, political, and strategic alliances around the world. The objective of this course is to describe this evolution and the technological, commercial, and political innovations shaping its current face. This knowledge is vital in achieving a more complete understanding of the role of oil in international affairs and economic development.

The course begins with a discussion of the development of the American and European oil industries during the 19th century and the formation of the first great industrial oil monopolies. The emergence of oil as a strategic commodity prior to and during World War I will then be discussed. The economic and technological reasons for the recurring boom-bust cycles of oil markets and the political arrangements developed to cope with their effects is the third major topic of the course. The focus then shifts back to military affairs with a discussion of the role of oil in the battles of World War II.

We then examine the social and cultural roots of the post-war dissolution of company ownership and the nationalization of oil reserves. Also in the policy arena, is a discussion of the policy response of western governments to a growing dependence upon low-cost oil from the Middle East, Africa, and South America. The analysis then focuses on the ideology and strategy behind the formation of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the motivations and execution of their strategies to drive up oil prices during the 1970s and early 1980s.

The last part of the course discusses the emergence of oil as a commodity traded in open commodity market exchanges, the development of reserves in deep water and in Africa, and the relationship between oil policy and the war on international terrorism.

The course will be offered during the spring semester and will include a field trip to the Pennsylvania oil region. Evaluation and assessment of student performance will rely on grading on-line quizzes and assignments, team papers and presentations, and examinations.


General Education: GS
Diversity: US;IL
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Spring 2006

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.

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