Oil Exploration, Diplomacy, and Security in the Early Cold War
The Enemy Underground
Routledge – 2017 – 290 pages
The importance of oil for national military-industrial complexes appeared more clearly than ever in the Cold War. This volume argues that the confidential acquisition of geoscientific knowledge was paramount for states, not only to provide for their own energy needs, but also to buttress national economic and geostrategic interests and protect energy security.
By investigating the postwar rebuilding and expansion of French and Italian oil industries from the second half of the 1940s to the early 1960s, this book shows how successive administrations in those countries devised strategies of oil exploration and transport, aiming at achieving a higher degree of energy autonomy and setting up powerful oil agencies that could implement those strategies. However, both within and outside their national territories, these two European countries had to confront the new Cold War balances and the interests of the two superpowers.
"What is "petroleum" if not the quintessential diplomacy device of the last one hundred years? Cantoni shows that its exploration mobilized Western intelligence agents; permits to extract cast the struggle for post-colonial independence of key African states; and piping technologies unnerved NATO officials at the height of the Cold War. Admirably researched, this book takes the reader on an amazing journey through the underworld of surveillance operations and secret negotiations that the global quest for controlling the "black gold" defined; a compelling study for anyone interested in twentieth-century history and its international dimensions."
Simone Turchetti, The University of Manchester, UK
1. The Allied Shadow: International Pressures and the Italian Oil Industry
2. From Iraq to Africa: the Quest for French Energy
3. Oil Diplomacy in Wartime Algeria
4. The Midstream Shift
5. Transnational Counterattack Against Soviet Oil Plans
Roberto Cantoni is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow within the Security
Studies Chair at CERI, Sciences Po, and an Associate Researcher at
LATTS—IFRIS, France. In 2014 he defended his PhD on oil exploration,
diplomacy and security at the University of Manchester, UK. In the same
year he won the Society for the History of Technology’s Levinson Prize. He
currently works on the politics of epistemic vulnerability in the nuclear age.