While the first oil discoveries in the North Sea occurred in the 1960’s, it would take the Iranian oil crisis to make the exploitation of North Sea oil economically viable. The North Sea contains the majority of Europe’s oil reserves and has become one of the leading non-OPEC producing regions in the world. Shared between the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Norway, the North Sea fields provided a welcome release from the death grip in which OPEC had hitherto held Western Europe.
Time: Late War
Removed after event: Yes
I try to save North Sea Oil for the end of the Turn, to reduce the time the US has to prepare for an AR8. It’s not generally worth sending to space, except on Turn 10, where an AR8 is especially uncomfortable.
The event is a lot less threatening when the US does not have the China Card and you’re able to use Aldrich Ames Remix and/or Terrorism to cut the US hand size.
North Sea Oil probably makes most sense as a headline, but in a pinch you could play it during the turn. The point is to give up one of your regular Action Rounds (or headline) and 3 Ops in exchange for two consecutive Action Rounds at the end of the turn, which can be used for all kinds of nefarious purposes. The OPEC block is just a nice bonus.
It is naturally most effective on Turn 10. It also tends to be better when you have the China Card or SALT Negotiations, both of which would allow you to hold an extra card so you don’t have to play every card in your hand.
In the Late War, I try (if reasonable) to not hold a problematic card and space it earlier in the turn instead. This allows me to take advantage of a USSR AR7 play of North Sea Oil. (Reminiscent of the US approach to a possible USSR Containment in the Early War.)