How the European recovery program (ERP) drove France's petroleum dependency, 1948–1975

Robert Groß*, Jan Streeck, Nelo Magalhães, Fridolin Krausmann, Helmut Haberl, Dominik Wiedenhofer

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


The article investigates the roles of the European Recovery Program (ERP) and the Organization for European Economic Co-Operation (OEEC) in pushing France towards a pathway of petroleum dependency. The study is based on the energy transition and the Deep Transition frameworks, notably the analysis of specific collective actors. The analysis elaborates on the impact the OEEC Refinery Expansion Program had on (a) quality and quantity of petroleum product supply in France; (b) the French position within global crude oil and petroleum product trade; (c) the technological interrelatedness of the petroleum sector with agriculture, transport, and mobility. We show how different measures were designed to integrate sociotechnical systems, accelerate the transformation of energy systems and put the objective of Western Europe's “hidden integration” to work. The article concludes that complementing transition studies with historical and socio-metabolic perspectives can shed light on the origins of unsustainable pathways during the 20th century.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-284
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

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  • Deep transition
  • Economy-wide material and energy flow analysis
  • Energy transition
  • European recovery program
  • Material stocks
  • Organization for European economic cooperation

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