Business: The Seven Sisters Still Rule

Five years after the crunch, most oil firms are as robust as ever

There's no business like oil business.

—C.C. Pocock, chairman of Shell

A few years ago, such Ethel Mermanesque exuberance would have sounded strange coming from the chief of one of world oil's fabled Seven Sisters—Exxon, Shell, Mobil, Texaco, British Petroleum, Standard Oil of California and Gulf.* Though the sorocracy had ruled the international oil trade since it began, the upheaval in the business that started with the Arab embargo of 1973 threatened to end this reign. Flushed with their success in quintupling the price of petroleum, the OPEC countries were...

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