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The environmental, the economic - and indeed the political - impact of the catastrophic 2010 blowout of BP's well in the Gulf of Mexico has highlighted the central part played by oil in the modern world. The fate of millions now depends on the ever-shifting value of petroleum and on the fortunes of the corporations that deliver it. The story of oil - how it came to play such a dominant role in the world economy, who controls its extraction, pricing and supply - is essential to an understanding of contemporary world politics. In this acclaimed book, Francisco Parra draws on his long experience in the oil world, including as the Secretary General of OPEC, to tell it. Oil Politics surveys the tumultuous history of the international petroleum industry, from its extraordinary growth between 1950 and 1979, presided over by the seven major oil companies, to the price revolution of the 1970s and 1980s, to the re-emergence of Russia as an important but uncertain supplier. Parra charts the changing power dynamics amongst the major oil suppliers and examines their relationships with the major oil importing countries, and how these concerns have impacted on foreign policy. Oil politics in the twenty-first century remain fraught with tensions, and this book offers a uniquely accessible guide to understanding this complex but vitally important subject.