In 1973, the world economy was brought almost to a halt by a supposed shortage of oil. The ostensible trigger for this alleged shortage was the so-called Yom Kippur War in which the armed forces of the Anglo-American Empire's settler-colonial offshore enterprise in Palestine, also known as the State of Israel, repelled the forces of Egypt and Syria, which had moved to reoccupy the territory stolen from them by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War. One response to the Anglo-American Empire's support of its client state against those states Israel wished to conquer was an oil embargo proclaimed by OPEC, with the largest producer– the autocratic Anglo-American protectorate Saudi Arabia at the lead.
Portrayed in the mainstream Western media as a sign of Arab economic strength – also as anti-Semitism in some quarters – the embargo led to massive economic disruption in all the countries that had to import oil, mainly Europe and its former colonies.
This embargo created the impression of a global oil shortage—which although there was none, could not be overcome without violating the power of the oil cartel. While the OPEC embargo formally restricted the sale of crude oil to Israel's sponsors, there was no real oil shortage since oil supplies to Europe and the US have always been in the hands of the majors (now super-majors), then known as the "seven sisters". OPEC's announcement of an embargo at the well had no impact on the enormous upstream reserves held by the mainly American majors. However it did provide the pretext for massive price increases at the pump– presented as shortage-induced.
Unnoticed except in the aftermath and ignored generally in popular debate or historical literature was the far more insidious deal made secretly while everyone from Bonn to Boston and Lyon to Los Angeles was queuing for petrol or the dole.