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Concentration in Domestic Oil

  • John M. Blair

Abstract

FROM ITS EARLIEST DAYS the production of crude oil in the United States has been widely dispersed among numerous producers. Although the concentration of domestic crude production has been rising as the result of mergers and other causes, it still remains well below the levels of oil-producing countries elsewhere. Among the factors that have combined to bring this about is a legal principle not present in most other oil-producing lands: the private ownership of subsoil mineral rights. A philosophic principle that has emerged in the development of Western civilization is the right of the individual to own property, including the ownership not only of the surface land but of what lies below. Where the subsoil mineral rights are the property of the state or the ruler, as in the Middle East, the obtaining of concessions has involved negotiations only with the governing body. But in the United States, the right to withdraw oil must be negotiated with individual private property owners whose number is legion.

Keywords

Federal Trade Commission American Petroleum Institute Stock Ownership Refining Capacity Interstate Commerce Commission 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Temporary National Economic Committee, Hearings on the Petroleum Industry, Pt. 14, 1940, pp. 7,593–7,594.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Federal Trade Commission, Report on the Petroleum Trade in Wyoming and Montana, 1922, p. 3.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Adolf A. Berle and Gardiner C. Means, The Modern Corporation and Private Property, rev. edn., Harcourt, Brace, New York, 1967, pp. 320–321.Google Scholar
  4. 14.
    Fred C. Allvine and James M. Patterson, Highway Robbery: An Analysis of the Gasoline Crisis, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Ind., 1974, p. 166.Google Scholar
  5. 16.
    93rd Cong., 1st Sess., Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly, Hearings on the Natural Gas Industry, Pt. 1, Competition and Concentration in the Nation’s Gas Industry, 1973, p. 499 (emphasis in original). (Hereinafter referred to as Hearings on the Natural Gas Industry)Google Scholar
  6. 18.
    Thomas G. Moore, “The Petroleum Industry,” in The Structure of American Industry, ed. Walter Adams, 4th edn., Macmillan, New York, 1971, p. 130. For refined products the proportions are 27% by pipeline, 30% by water carrier, and 43% by truck.Google Scholar
  7. 38.
    The 1972 data on the interlocking directorates are compiled from Stanley H. Ruttenberg and Associates, The American Oil Industry: A Failure of Antitrust Policy, 1974. In 1972, Gulf had no interlocks with other major oil companies.Google Scholar
  8. 40.
    See John M. Blair, Economic Concentration, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1972, p. 78.Google Scholar
  9. 46.
    See Lundberg Survey, National Petroleum News, 1973, Factbook Issue, pp. 113–120.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John M. Blair 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. Blair

There are no affiliations available

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