Saudi-Russian maneuvering links politics, commerce

To decode recent maneuvering in the upper strata of petroleum politics, start here: The two American companies rumored to be preparing rival bids for a chunk of soon-to-merge Russian giants OAO Yukos and OAO Sibneft are paired-up former partners of the old Arabian-American Oil Co. (Aramco).Wall Street Journal reported that ExxonMobil Corp. and ChevronTexaco Corp. are considering offers worth $11 billion for 25% of the imminent Yukos-Sibneft combine. Neither company would comment.That report followed an unprecedented visit to Russia—now producing a Saudi-scale 8 million b/d of oil—by a high-level Saudi delegation led by Crown Prince Abdullah, which yielded agreements on energy,...

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