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A Dictionary of Human Geography

Alisdair Rogers,

Noel Castree,

Rob Kitchin


A form of capital accumulation founded on the extraction, distribution, and consumption of petroleum. The term may refer to the larger globalized economy that depends on oil and gas for energy, industrial products, and profits, and which is coupled with a geopolitical state of affairs in which control over oil resources and their distribution is paramount. It may also describe a particular country whose dependence on oil exports shapes not just its economy, but also its political institutions. Michael Watts has written extensively about Nigeria in these terms, arguing that oil rents drive its political economy in ways not fully captured by the related idea of resource curse. See also low carbon economy.