OIL: Billion-Dollar Chip

In the global gamble for oil, everyone knows that U.S. companies are cashing in the biggest jackpot in their history. But few realize the staggering size of the bets required to back up a winning hand. Last week Gulf Oil Corp., fifth biggest in the industry, provided a prime example. It announced that it will spend another $200 million to expand its refining and manufacturing operations, bringing its total expansion since war's end to $1 billion, one-twelfth of the whole U.S. industry's postwar investments. With such huge costs for hunting and producing oil, not even the giants can afford...

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