Earnings: Battle Reports

The U.S. oil industry—inadvertently involved in last June's Arab-Israeli war—last week issued its first battle communiqués. They were remarkable: rather than having lost money during more-or-less temporary Arab oil embargoes against the U.S., the American companies made comfortable profits.

How? "Flexibility" was the word used by Mobil Oil Chairman Albert L. Nickerson, who is also chairman of the Business Council, an advisory group for the White House. When Middle East hostilities either slowed or stopped production at Mobil's holdings in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran, the company merely dipped deeper into its...

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