SAUDI ARABIA: Sticking Point

Eight years after Aramco, the U.S.-owned Arabian American Oil Co., introduced into the Middle East the magic fifty-fifty formula of splitting production profits with the governments concerned, the numbers game no longer has its old magic. The formula was often broken while still technically honored—through side bonuses, generous rentals, air-conditioned Cadillacs or airplanes presented to sheiks. But on one matter the major oil companies of the world, which may compete at filling-station pumps but frequently join in partnership abroad, were adamant. They would split with Arab governments only at the production...

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