SHISHIKIN V.G. Privatization of the British Oil Industry in the 1970s – 1980s


Vitalii G. Shishikin

Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor,

Department of International Affairs and Regional Studies, Novosibirsk State Technical University,

Prosp. K. Marksа, 20, 630073 Novosibirsk, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. The relevance of the subject is proved by the interest in the activity of the fuel and energy complex which remains for Russia one of the economic system donors. In this regard, there is growing interest in the experience of the energy industry development in other states, for example to the oil industry reforms in the Great Britain in the last quarter of the 20th century.

Methods and materials. The basis of the research is made by works of foreign authors and sources in English. The complex structure of the object of study determines using general historical techniques and the system approach.

Analysis. The research of the evolution of the British oil industry is connected with considering the general economic situation in the country and the dominating ideological attitudes of the United Kingdom authorities concerning the economic system during the post-war period. It is possible to note that British authorities paid close attention to the oil industry. The privatization of oil enterprises, which began in the second half of the 1970s, became a reaction to the changes of the economic situation within the country and in the world. It was the tactical maneuver under the Labourists directed to stabilization of the economic system without its essential updating. The subsequent transformations of the oil industry under the Conservatives were based on the basis of the economic paradigm revision, with the expectation of reducing the state’s participation in the ownership of enterprise assets, forming a broad layer of owners, both among small and large holders of securities, as well as strengthening the independence of fuel companies.

Results. As a result of the reforms in the market, several fuel companies different in power, continued working. The authorities got an opportunity not only to replenish the budget, but also to fulfill the mechanisms of indirect impact on the oil industry that, on the one hand, allowed to differentiate the spheres of the parties’ responsibilities, and on the other hand, to maintain the influence of the state in the strategic segment of economy.

Key words: fuel and energy complex, Great Britain, privatization, economic reforms, oil industry, M. Thatcher, British Petroleum.

Citation. Shishikin V.G. Privatization of the British Oil Industry in the 1970s – 1980s. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2020, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 218-228. (in Russian). DOI:

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Privatization of the British Oil Industry in the 1970s – 1980s by Shishikin V.G. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License .

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