OIL & GAS: Desert Victory

OIL & GAS

Deep in the Middle East desert last week, a burnoosed Arab swung a Geiger counter over a fat steel pipe, tracing the progress of a radioactive swab inside. Behind the swab pushed a brown tide of oil, bound on a 1,068-mile journey from Arabian-American Oil Co.'s vast Saudi Arabian wells to the Mediterranean port of Sidon, in Lebanon. It was the first oil to pass through the $200 million Trans-Arabian pipeline (known as Tapline), the biggest overseas construction project ever financed by private U.S. capital.

Long Haul. The pipeline, which brings Aramco's oil closer to Western European markets, saves...

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