Insurgent energy nformation “The Federal Trade Commission accused the eight largest U.S. oil companies Tuesday of monopolistic refining and marketing practices that have boosted their profits, forced American motorists to pay inflated prices and contributed to the gasoline shortage. “For nearly a quarter century, the FTC said, the big oil firms have controlled the market from the oil well to gas pump, making it almost impossible for new companies to enter the refining business… . “Named in the complaint were the Exxon Corp., Texaco, Inc., Gulf Oil Corp., Mobil Oil Corp., Standard Oil of California, Standard Oil of Indiana, Shell Oil Corp. and Atlantic Richfield Co.” United Press International, July 18, 1973. In 1969 American oil companies controlled 14 percent of the nation’s uranium production, 40 percent of the uranium exploration and drilling and 45 percent of the reserves. And, according to Sen. George Aiken, R-Vermont, by the end of the Sixties the oil monoliths had virtually gained possession of the larger coal mines in the U.S. selling more than half the coal output in the country. The United Mine Workers Union is now campaigning to break up the huge energy conglomerates. Arnold Miller of the UMW recently testified in Washington that the companies have positioned themselves “to play off one another to obtain the highest prices, the least labor trouble anG the most advantageous treatment from government.” Not so, answer industry spokesmen. Randall Meyer, an Exxon vice president, says the business is “highly competitive” and warns that breaking up integrated oil companies would lessen competition and raise prices. B. R. Dorsey, Gulf’s chairman, says fuels other than oil provide “significant economic efficiencies inherent in the expansion of an oil company into other forms of energy supply.” Sen. Lee Metcalf, D-Mont., has charged that the oil companies and a few banks dominate federal energy policy through an “interlocked apparatus” that ‘ virtually excludes public utilities, small businesses,, retailers and consumers. For example, the Emergency Petroleum and Gas Administration Executive Reserve, a government agency recently partially activated by the White House, has 24 key officials from ARCO, 12 from Sun Oil, 11 from Northern Natural Gas and 10 from Gulf. It is “absolutely wrong” for the White House to turn over “the whole kit and caboodle” to these interests, Metcalf insists. Meanwhile, Gulf, Exxon and 10 other major oil companies are refusing Senator Metcalf’s request of each to supply the names of their 30 biggest stockholders. “The White House has asked Congress to grant a limited exemption from the anti-trust laws to oil and other energy companies because they will be ‘forced to cooperate and plan for mutual action’ to implement the proposed emergency energy act, it was learned yesterday. . . . The Washington Post, Dec. 2, 1973. “Almost alone among the major industrial nations, the United States the world’s largest oil consumer has resisted the pressures to become involved in the petroleum trade. Countries like France and Italy have long had national oil corporations, which have served as major instruments of foreign policy. “Every oil-producing country in North Africa and the Middle East also has a growingly important national oil company. Even in the most conservative Arab oil states, agreements have been concluded giving their national companies 51 percent ownership of local operations by 1983.” David B. Ottaway and Ronald Koven, The Washington Post, July 8, 1973. “What you have in the United States is not an energy crisis but a producers’. strike. The producers have invested their money in a way to cause maximum inconvenience to the people who do not give them the money they think they deserve. … The producers say that the proven oil reserves have gone down. Well, proven reserves are a direct function of expenditure for drilling and exploration. Instead of investing in exploration, the oil industry has been investing in real estate. You’ll know the ‘energy crisis’ is over when Shell sells Plaza del Oro. . If prices go up, you’ll have oil and gas coming out your ears in a few months.” A state-employed lawyer who prefers to remain anonymous. “Major oil and gas companies which usually are one and the same combine in innumerable joint ventures: bidding for off-shore oil and gas leases, producing from the leased lands, owning pipelines and oil and gas gathering systems, operating international enterprises. They also have interlocking directorships with banks. And all major pipelines have gas-producing affiliates meaning that they buy from themselves. “Although this inter-dependence is on a scale matched in no other major industry, the administration, the Federal Power Commission and the industry say the natural gas industry is competitively structured.” Morton Mintz, The Washington Post, Nov. 11, 1973. 8 The Texas Observer
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