Few industries have undergone such rapid changes during the last ten years as the international oil industry. During this decade, there have been radical changes in the conditions under which international oil companies acquire and trade crude oil. In addition to the changes in the upstream sector the two quantum jumps in oil prices have drastically altered the conditions of downstream operations. Since 1979 oil demand fell more sharply than total energy demand, thereby reducing its relative importance in the energy economy. These events initiated a far-reaching adjustment process which is likely to continue.