UK petrol retailing: competitive rivalry and the decline of the oil majors in the twentieth century
Published:January 01, 2018
Neil H. Ritson, Ian Byrne, David A. Cohen, 2018. "UK petrol retailing: competitive rivalry and the decline of the oil majors in the twentieth century", History of the European Oil and Gas Industry, J. Craig, F. Gerali, F. MacAulay, R. Sorkhabi
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The development of the retail petroleum industry in the UK has received only sporadic attention by academics. This is curious, as the industry has vital importance to modern commerce. The industry is usually thought of as an oligarchy, with a small number of companies controlling the production and movement of products through vertical integration. However, there is evidence of change in the industry: there has been a significant number of exchanges of retailing sites between the major entities themselves, and a rise in the number and influence of competitors. These constitute both multiple retailers such as supermarket chains and, at the ‘competitive fringe’, a rise in the number of smaller independents. This paper identifies the historical changes and analyses the factors underlying them.
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The history of the European oil and gas industry reflects local as well as global political events, economic constraints and the personal endeavours of individual petroleum geoscientists as much as it does the development of technologies and the underlying geology of the region. The first commercial oil wells in Europe were drilled in Poland in 1853, Romania in 1857, Germany in 1859 and Italy in 1860. The 23 papers in this volume focus on the history and heritage of the oil and gas industry in the key European oil-producing countries from the earliest onshore drilling to its development into the modern industry that we know today. The contributors chronicle the main events and some of the major players that shaped the industry in Europe. The volume also marks several important anniversaries, including 150 years of oil exploration in Poland and Romania, the centenary of the drilling of the first oil well in the UK and 50 years of oil production from onshore Spain.