A case study of a multinational oil company : Amoco in Trinidad.
This thesis examines the performance of one multinational oil company,
Amoco, with reference to its impact on the economy of Trinidad and
Tobago. The case study methodology is employed to place Amoco's
operations in Trinidad in the dynamic context of competition within the
world petroleum industry, and to assess the development problems and
possibilities this presents for a small Caribbean econ9my.
It sets out the super profits Amoco gained from Trinidad between 1973 -
1979, based on fieldwork research carried out in 1980. It shows how the
surge in overseas crude production transformed Amoco's profitability. It
also reveals that once the payback had been attained, Amoco's exploration
and development effort in Trinidad declined. The nationalisation of
Amoco would therefore provide a vital control over Trinidad's production
and depletion policy. This is seen as a necessary, but not sufficient
step forward for the people of Trinidad and Tobago to control their major
The oil resources generated new forms of state intervention as a further
consequence of the government's development strategy. Amoco as the major
supplier of natural gas was also the key to the energy intensive
industrialisation projects, particularly in fertilisers, which were liable
to reap it considerable benefit.
The thesis emphasises the contradictions of the oil boom with the massive
subsidies given to private consumption, particularly of petroleum. It
concludes that the major opponent to control by multinational companies
has been the Oilfield Workers Trade Union. The Union has had a tradition
of militancy since its inception in the late 1930s, with the ability to
mobilise in the 1970s both across the ethnic divide and outside of the oil
sector. The democratic basis of the Union is the surest hope that a
nationalisation of Amoco would not degenerate into bureaucracy.