1973 world oil market chronology

  • January 11: U.S. Phase III price controls begin. Allows for voluntary instead of mandatory price control on all U.S. prices. This does not prevent a sharp rise in heating oil prices caused by a severe winter and shortage of product.
  • January 17: President Richard Nixon suspends mandatory oil import quota on No. 2 heating oil through April 30.
  • January 23: Shah of Iran announces that the 1954 operating agreement between a consortium of oil companies and Iran will not be renewed when it expires in 1979. The consortium was formed in 1954 as a means to settle a dispute between a new ministry in Iran and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC). The consortium included Standard Oil of New Jersey, Standard Oil of California, SOCONY-Vacuum, the Texas Company, Gulf, Royal Dutch-Shell, the Compagnie Francaise de Petroles, and the AIOC.
  • February 28: Iraq and IPC reach an agreement on compensation for nationalization.
  • March:Special Rule No. 1 reimposes mandatory (Phase II) price controls on the 23 largest oil companies. Smaller companies, representing 5 percent of the market, enjoy uncontrolled prices.
  • March 16: Shah of Iran and Consortium members agree to nationalize all assets immediately in return for an assured 20-year supply of Iranian oil.
  • March 16: OPEC discusses raising prices to offset decline of U.S. dollar value.
  • April 1: OPEC increases posted prices by 5.7 percent.
  • April 18: U.S. Government ends Mandatory Oil Import Program. Program, established in 1959 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, had limited imports of crude and product east of the Rocky Mountains to a percentage of domestic crude production.
  • June 1: Eight OPEC countries raise posted prices by 11.9 percent.
  • June 11: Libya nationalizes Bunker Hunt concession; Nigeria acquires 35 percent participation in Shell-BP concession.
  • June 14: Nixon administration imposes 60-day economy-wide price freeze, superseding Special Rule No. 1 for oil companies.
  • Aug :Libya nationalizes 51 percent of Occidental Petroleum concession and of the Oasis consortium.
  • August 17: President Nixon's Cost of Living Council imposes two-tier price ceiling on crude petroleum sales: production of "old" oil (that produced at or below 1972 levels from existing wells) to be sold at March 1973 prices plus 35 cents; production of "new" oil (that produced above 1972 levels from existing wells and oil produced from new wells) to be sold at uncontrolled prices.
  • September 1: Libya nationalizes 51 percent of nine other companies' concessions: Esso, Libya/Sirte, Mobil, Shell, Gelensberg, Texaco, SoCal, Libyan-American (ARCO), and Grace.
  • September 5: Conference of less developed countries approves forming "producers' associations," calls for withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied Arab lands.
  • September 15: OPEC supports price hikes and designates six Persian Gulf countries to negotiate collectively with companies over prices. Other members to negotiate individually.
  • September:Kuwait rejects gradual participation increase plan, insists on immediate 60 percent participation.
  • October 6: Beginning of fourth Arab-Israeli War.
  • October 7: Iraq nationalizes Exxon and Mobil shares in Basrah Petroleum Company representing 23.75 percent equity in the company.
  • October 8: OPEC meets with oil companies to discuss revision of 1971 Tehran agreement and oil prices. Negotiations fail.
  • October 16: Six Gulf countries (Iran, Iraq, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar) unilaterally raise the posted price of Saudi Light marker crude 17 percent from $3.12 to $3.65 per barrel and announce production cuts.
  • October 17: OPEC oil ministers agree to use oil weapon in Arab-Israeli War, mandate cut in exports, and recommend embargo against unfriendly states.
  • October 19: President Nixon requests Congress to appropriate $2.2billion in emergency aid for Israel. Libya, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states proclaim an embargo on oil exports to the United States.
  • October 23: Arab oil embargo extended to the Netherlands.
  • November 5: Arab producers announce 25 percent cut in production below September levels. Further cuts of five percent are threatened.
  • November 18: Arab oil ministers cancel the scheduled 5 percent cut in production for EEC.
  • November 23: Arab summit conference adopts open and secret resolutions on the use of the oil weapon. Embargo extended to Portugal, Rhodesia, and South Africa.
  • November 27: President Nixon signs the Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act (EPAA). Authorizes petroleum price, production, allocation and marketing controls.
  • December 9: Arab oil ministers announce a further production cut of 5 percent for January for non-friendly countries.
  • December 22: OPEC Six Gulf countries decides to raise the posted price of marker crude from $5.12 to $11.65 per barrel effective January 1, 1974.
  • December 25: Arab oil ministers cancel January 5 percent production cut. Saudi Arabian oil minister promises 10 percent OPEC production rise.
previous year:
1972 world oil market chronology
This article is part of the
Chronology of world oil market events (1970-2005)
following year:
1974 world oil market chronology