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Wars of PlunderConflicts, Profits and the Politics of Resources$
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Philippe Le Billon

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199333462

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199333462.001.0001

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(p.59) 3 Oil
Wars of Plunder

Philippe Le Billon

Oxford University Press

Oil has generated some of the largest profits in history and the oil industry is probably the world’s most despised and essential in a hydrocarbon-based economy. From transportation to food and plastics, oil is integrated into nearly every aspect of daily life. The world’s largest internationally traded commodity and an essential component of modern economies and military supremacy, oil is associated with spectacular booms and busts and with both extreme wealth and abject poverty. Oil is also the resource most commonly associated with armed conflict, and whereas the number of conflicts declined overall after the Cold War, it actually grew among oil producing countries. The chapter explains why armed conflicts take place in some oil-producing countries and not others, but also points at the different forms of violence relating to the oil sector, and the importance of oil abundance versus dependence, history of exploitation, and location of oil fields. Examples from Iraq, Nigeria and Sudan are provided

Keywords:   oil, petroleum, hydrocarbons, Iraq, Nigeria, Sudan

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