The Political Role of National Oil Companies in Exporting Countries: The Venezuelan Case

This paper starts by defining the political role of mining companies in terms of the landlordtenant relationship in a modern economy. We shall then examine the role played by international oil companies in the oil exporting countries of the Third World, thus addressing the question of why they were nationalized. This will be followed by an analysis of the role of national oil companies along the same lines; the issue to be examined is their contribution to the emergence of new types of landlord-tenant relationships, nationally and internationally. Finally we shall conclude with an assessment of the future of National Oil Companies in exporting countries. To illustrate the argument we shall refer to Venezuela and its National Oil Company, Petr6leos de Venezuela S.A. (PDV) throughout this paper.

By: B. Mommer

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