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In this, the first of two programmes examining British foreign policy regarding oil, we look at the impact of the Arab Israeli War of 1973 and the resulting boycott of oil production and the in prices charged by Arab states. British foreign policy decision makers faced a choice between bilateral agreements with Arab states to ensure her continued supply of energy and multinational initiatives to arrive at a common energy policy. This programme examines the role of major actors in the crisis of 1973: the European Economic Community (Henri Simonet), the multinational oil companies (Geoffrey Chandler of Shell), the British minister responsible for energy (Peter Walker) and both the future director and the chairman of the International Energy Agency, created at a 1974 meeting in Washington, D.C. (Ulf Lantzke and Vicomte DAvignon). Peter Odell, professor of Economic Geography at Rotterdam University, provides an overview of the oil crisis, and presenter James Barber of the Open University looks ahead to the growing impact of North Sea Oil in Britain's foreign policy on energy.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: D203, Decision making in Britain
Item code: D203; 14; 1977
First transmission date: 01-09-1977
Published: 1977
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:30
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Producer: Susan Boyd-Bowman
Contributor: James Barber
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Energy; Oil
Footage description: The programme begins with shots of an Israeli attack on a Syrian oil refinery, October, 1973. Over shots of pipelines and meetings of OPEC ministers, James Barber describes the effect of the Arab Israeli war which resulted in oil embargoes and cutbacks in oil production. He describes Britains dependence upon oil imports and the campaigns introduced to cut back on consumption. Sheik Yamani of Saudi Arabia argues that all the Arabs are doing is cutting back on the sacrifice they were previously making. James Barber now describes the dramatic price increases OPEC imposed on the Western World. Peter Odell, Professor of Economic Geography, Rotterdam, argues that the embargo and price increases shook the Western World out of its complacency about consumption and the supply of energy. Ulf Lantzke, former German Energy Minister and now Director International Energy Authority, describes the initial international response to the crisis. Viscount DAvignon, a Belgian diplomat, describes the disarray in the Western countries. Within the EEC there was no unity and a disappearance of political leadership. Peter Walker, the Energy Minister in 1973, explains that the friendly designation received by the British did not greatly help them overcome the embargo. He then goes on to describe the role of the oil companies in dealing with the crisis. Geoffrey Chandler, a director of Shell Petroleum, describes the pressure put on his company by a number of governments. He explains that his company attempted to deal with all countries equally. Shots of oil tankers, docks and terminals. James Barber explains the special problems faced by the Netherlands which was labelled as hostile by the Arab states; several Dutchmen give their views about the boycott of their country by the oil exporters. Willem Thomassen, Burgomaster of Rotterdam, argues that within the EEC there should be no distinction made between member states. Henri Simonet, European Commissioner for Energy, describes how the Community reacted to the crisis. Any oil sharing was conducted by the oil companies rather than the member states. Britain and France would not consider oil sharing, the other members were pressing for an oil sharing mechanism. James Barber explains the events leading to a failure to agree at the Copenhagen Conference of heads of state. Shots of the government leaders at the conference. Peter Walker describes the limitations of this conference and the efforts he made to get bilateral agreements with the Shah of Iran in order to supply British Industry with oil. Henri Simonet argues that it is a bad precedent for each country to try and solve its own economic problems separately. Ulf Lantzke describes how after about 3 months the international community began to act in a more cooperative fashion. Peter Odell explains the failure of the West to forge a common policy. Shots of Henry Kissinger making a speech in London, December 1973, in which he proposes the establishment of an energy action group. Shots of officials arriving for the groups first conference in Washington, February 1974. Henri Simonet describes the divisions within the EEC countries at that conference. Vicomte DAvignon describes the setting up of an expert committee which to everyones surprise came with a workable policy which included an allocation scheme. He explains how the committee persuaded the countries involved to accept a sharing scheme. James Barber describes the changes in policy and public opinion since 1973. Vicomte DAvignon describes how different countries in the West have different interests. Some for example are already oil exporters. Ulf Lantzke argues that the crisis has made governments aware of the degree of interdependence involved in the world economy. Finally James Barber points out the changes brought about in British policy by the crisis and the growing importance of North Sea Oil since the 1973 oil crisis.
Master spool number: 6HT/72559
Production number: 00525_2396
Videofinder number: 3416
Available to public: no