Gas, oil and the Irish state

Understanding the dynamics and conflicts of hydrocarbon management

Author: Amanda Slevin

Gas and oil are pivotal to the functioning of modern societies, yet the ownership, control, production and consumption of hydrocarbons often provokes intense disputes with serious social, economic, and political ramifications. In Gas, Oil and the Irish State, Amanda Slevin examines the dynamics and conflicts of state hydrocarbon management and provides the first comprehensive study of the Irish model. Interpreting the Corrib gas conflict as a microcosm of the Irish state’s approach to hydrocarbon management, Slevin articulates environmental, health and safety concerns which underpin community resistance to the project. She emphasises how the dispute exposed broader issues, such as the privatisation of Irish hydrocarbons in exchange for one of the lowest rates of government take in the world, and served to problematise how the state functions, its close relationship with capital, and its deployment of coercive force to repress dissent. Analysis of these issues occurs within an original account of decision-making and policy formation around Irish hydrocarbons from 1957 to 2014. Slevin traces the development of the state’s approach in tandem with occurrences in Irish political economy and examines the impact of global trends on different approaches to hydrocarbon management. A detailed case study of Norway reveals ideological, political, social and economic forces which influence how states manage their hydrocarbons and the author uses those factors as the basis for a rigorous critique of the Irish model. Examining subjects that are simultaneously empirical and ideological, historical and current, the focus of this book extends beyond decision-making processes within the state system to their impacts on people’s lives in communities. Slevin uncovers the social, environmental, economic, and political consequences of current policies and offers a blueprint for an alternative framework for hydrocarbon management.

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