OIL: The New Barons of Oil

A consumer who wanted to know where the power lay in the world oil business once had only to memorize the names of the "seven sister" international companies: Exxon, Royal Dutch/Shell, Gulf, Texaco, Mobil, California Standard and British Petroleum. Now he must also learn such less familiar names as National Iranian, Petromin and Pertamina. They are among a host of government-owned companies that are muscling in on the majors' market by taking over many of the seven sisters' operations outside the U.S.

Last week, in a move deliberately timed to coincide with the...

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