OIL: The Blue-Chip Game

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In the subterranean world of petroleum, it is the international oilmen who play the blue-chip game. The players must back their gambling spirit with refineries, tankers, filling stations — and millions in hard cash. In this blue-chip game, the jackpot is the Middle East, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the string of tiny sheikdoms in the rolling sand dunes around the Persian Gulf — Bahrein, Kuwait and Qatar (pronounced gutter).

Under these scorching deserts lies an ocean of oil, the fabulous wealth of the Arabian Nights. The ocean contains a minimum...

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