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The tiger and the dragon: a neoclassical realist perspective of India and China in the oil industry in West Africa

Verma, Rajneesh (2013) The tiger and the dragon: a neoclassical realist perspective of India and China in the oil industry in West Africa. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Can and does neoclassical realism explain the difference in how India and China mobilise oil (a key resource) externally to meet their respective goals and objectives. The thesis illustrates how political economy (political economy as employed in the thesis examines the structure of the economic system, not the foreign policy executive) is incorporated as the intervening variable into neoclassical realism to explain the acquisition of oil blocks by Indian and Chinese oil corporations in West Africa. Consequently, the thesis transcends the existing or prevalent theories of neoclassical realism which either elucidate structural outcomes like polarity or balancing, or deviations from neorealism like under balancing or over balancing. The thesis postulates that the independent or the exogenous variable i.e. the difference in the relative power of India and China elucidates the ability of Chinese oil companies to outbid their Indian competitors and/or be preferred as partners by international oil companies (IOCs) and/or have better quality oil blocks as well as China’s widespread outreach in 11 countries in West Africa compared to India’s presence in two counties namely Nigeria and Gabon. The intervening variable or the difference in the political economy of India and China explicates why China is represented by state owned enterprises (SOEs) in the oil industry in West Africa where as India is represented by SOEs and/or private enterprises. For case study analysis, the thesis uses a pattern-matching logic in 11 countries in West Africa and employs Angola, Nigeria and Gabon for in depth case studies. The thesis examines not only the bids that Chinese and Indian oil corporations place for the oil blocks but tries to explicate the reason why they are able to place those bids. It examines the rate of return on capital/investment, rate of interest on loans and the ease of availability of loans or finance, the difference in the level of technology and ability to acquire technology, project management skills, risk aversion, valuation of the asset and the difference in the economic, political and diplomatic support received by the Chinese and Indian oil companies from their respective governments. It also discusses the reasons why the Chinese national oil companies (NOCs) are preferred as partners by African oil companies and IOCs. Thus, the thesis provides a more comprehensive explanation for the ability of the Chinese oil companies to mobilise oil in the oil industry in West Africa relative to their Indian counterparts, and makes an empirical contribution to the existing literature on India and China in the oil industry in West Africa.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2013 Rajneesh Verma
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Alden, Christopher

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