Watching the World: Dot-com one, come all

The demise of PetroCosm Corp., Houston, one of the oil business's pioneering electronic marketplaces, can hardly have come as a great shock to industry observers. As with worldwide shakeout in the sector, Malthus can immediately be called upon to explain the e-marketer's failure: the supply chain ecosystem, made fragile by the last wave of megamergers, could not support the myriad business-to-business portals that have sprung up determined to make a living from it. Still, almost in time with PetroCosm's downfall comes the launch of OFS Portal, a would-have-been competitor.The consortium backing this latest online supply chain venture-made up of dozen of the biggest oil...

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