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The crude realities of diplomacy

Financial Times

By Gideon Rachman

Published: September 8 2009 03:00 | Last updated: September 8 2009 03:00


“Follow the money” is the advice routinely offered to detectives in low-budget thrillers. For anyone attempting to understand the ebbs and flows of international politics, I offer a variant of that old line: “Follow the oil”.

Britain’s North Sea reserves are running down and the country is worrying about a looming energy crisis. Libya looks like a promising possible supplier of both oil and natural gas that is unusually open to foreign oil companies. BP and Royal Dutch Shell are the second and third biggest companies on the London stock exchange, and they have both signed exploration deals in Libya.

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