Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Amy Limoncelli

Committee Members

Rui Pereira

Peyman Jafari


This thesis investigates the role of Great Britain in shaping the short-term and long-term Western response to OPEC’s restriction of petroleum supply and raising of petroleum prices in the 1973 oil crisis through the lens of decolonization. I intend to elucidate how the processes of British decolonization in the Middle East helped lead to the 1973 oil crisis. Further, I will argue that the British oil companies drove the United Kingdom’s response to the 1973 oil crisis. By combining multiple historiographies and primary British government documents from the National Archives of the United Kingdom at Kew, I seek to demonstrate the United Kingdom, as an intermediary between the United States and the European Economic Community member states, significantly drove the broader industrialized response to OPEC’s actions. I claim that the British government restricted the use of fossil fuels in the short term and, in the long term, that the British oil companies diversified fossil fuel sources in response to OPEC’s decisions to lower British and overall consumer dependence on the producers. The broad consumer response, driven in large part by Britain’s support of its oil companies, ultimately reduced the West’s overreliance on Middle Eastern oil that allowed OPEC to spark the oil crisis, weakened OPEC’s political leverage to attain global political-economic reforms to close gaps between the Global North and Global South, and solidified the global dominance of petroleum over other energy sources.

On-Campus Access Only