OIL: Strange Bedfellows

If politics makes strange bedfellows, so does business—as Gulf Oil Corp. has discovered. Last week, under pressure from the U.S. State Department, Gulf suspended its profitable oil-producing operations in the newly independent African nation of Angola. One reason: its taxes and royalties had been supporting the Soviet-backed faction in the civil war there, and indeed far outweighing the money that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency had been slipping to the anti-Communist side.

The story opened in 1957, when Gulf began exploring for oil off the coast of Cabinda, a province of Angola, then under Portuguese colonial rule. The Cabinda subsidiary of...

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