Watching the World: The state of independents

In the wake of the recently announced merger between US oil companies Texaco Inc. and Chevron Corp. and the announced $3.5 billion takeover of UK independent Lasmo PLC by another American major, Amerada Hess Corp., debate as to the implications of the continuing trend of consolidation within the international oil business has been reawakened. To judge by a panel discussion of current merger and acquisition activity at a conference in London last week, the received wisdom that, in all matters corporate, bigger is necessarily better is coming under closer scrutiny.Yet the consensus appears to be that the mergers and/or acquisitions that have or will relegate the likes of Amoco Corp. and Elf...

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