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1.1: Overview

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    This lesson will discuss the beginnings of the oil industry in Pennsylvania in the 1850s, the driving force for the early oil production, the key players, and the challenges, booms, and busts. The emergence, role, and importance of Rockefeller and Standard Oil in the early development of the oil industry and corporate sturcture in America will also be discussed. This lesson will also introduce the emergence of competitive oil industries in Russia and the Dutch East Indies in the 1860s.

    Learning Outcomes

    By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

    • identify the five largest world oil producers;
    • explain how quality differences in crude oils influence their value on the world oil market;
    • use the Energy Information Administration website to gather data on crude oil exporters to the United States;
    • explain the role of OPEC in the world oil market;
    • use the NYMEX website ot construct a forward curve for crude oil;
    • evaluate whether or not world oil production has peaked.

    Reading Materials

    • Flipping the Switch: The Transformation of Energy Markets - S. van Vactor (registered students can access the reading in the Lesson 1 module.)
    • Revisiting the Limits to Growth Under Peak Oil - Hail and Day (registered students can access the reading in the Lesson 1 module.)
    • Episodes 1, 2, and 3 of the Planet Money Buys Oil podcast.
    • An overview of hte Cushing, Oklahoma crude oil hub (registered students can access the reading in the Lesson 1 module.)

    What is due for Lesson 1?

    This lesson will take us one week to complete. Please refer to the Course Calendar for specific due dates. See the specific directions for the assignments below.

    • Homework: Answer questions about global crude oil markets.
    • Discussion: Respond to a statement made by Sheik Ahmed Zahi Yamani, the longtime Saudi oil minister and a key founder of OPEC


    If you have any questions, please post them to our Questions? discussion forum (not email). I will check that discussion forum daily and respond as Needed. While you are in the discussion forum, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help out a classmate.

    This page titled 1.1: Overview is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Seth Blumsack (John A. Dutton: e-Education Institute) .

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