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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Oil, politics, and development in the formation of a State: the Congolese petroleum wars, 1963-1968
Author:Klieman, Kairn A.ISNI
Year:2008
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Volume:41
Issue:2
Pages:169-202
Language:English
Geographic terms:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
United States
Italy
Subjects:international politics
oil companies
petroleum refineries
1960-1969
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/40282487
Abstract:In January 1963, the Congolese Prime Minister Cyrille Adoula signed a contract with the Italian oil company ENI (Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi) to build the nation's first and only petroleum refinery. This sparked a complicated series of political and economic battles waged by the four established distributors of petroleum in Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) - Petrocongo, Shell, Mobil and Texaco - to force the Congolese to repudiate the agreement and push the Italians out of the market. These 'petroleum wars' carried on for five years (1963-1968) and involved considerable intervention by the US State Department. Despite strong-arm tactics used by the Western oil companies, each of the successive political regimes of this era - the Adoula, Tshombe and Mobutu governments - rejected US State Department entreaties to protect Western oil interests. In the end, the Congolese and Italians won the battle. The history of these wars, as described in this paper, also sheds new light on the politics of the post-Lumumba era in Congo; the tenuous nature of Adoula's relationship with his American promoters; the degree of autonomy political leaders dependent on a single outside power could wield during the Cold War; and the politics and discourse surrounding development decisions made in the immediate post-independence era. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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