A Meaner Leaner Oil Giant

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The mammoth BP-Amoco merger is a sign that there's still money to be made in the depressed global oil market -- but only on the back of heavy sacrifice. BP's $48 billion acquisition of Amoco will see about 6,000 jobs slashed in Cleveland and Houston. "With oil prices weak, the only way for companies to remain profitable is to cut their costs," says Fortune correspondent Nelson Schwartz. "Exxon and other companies have actually boosted their profits despite the depressed market by improving their efficiency." The merger will allow BP and Amoco to remain competitive by pursuing an economy of scale. Says Schwartz, "Bigger is better in oil as in everything else." Except, perhaps, if you're an Amoco employee.