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With the Exxon-Mobil deal official other big oil companies are now in a mating game The companies are mulling their own mergers to keep pace with this newmega-rival and to survive the near-collapse of world oil prices that spawned the marriages of Exxon and Mobil--and British Petroleum and Amoco Corp --in the first place Exxon and Mobils 753-billion merger gave the combined company a dominant presence in US and world oil markets that is sure to draw antitrust scrutiny Exxon Mobil is Americas largest oil company and antitrust issues are being raised because of its refining capacity and share of the US gasoline market This does not mean a merger wave will automatically roll through the industry mergers routinely collapse over issues of price management egos and other factors But every oil company is at least going over its options now that Exxon and Mobil the two biggest players in the US oil industry are joining to create an awesome competitor To be sure other possible pairings in the oil patch are just speculation for now and the companies themselves arent commenting But attention is shifting to the likes of Texaco headquartered in White Plains NY and San Francisco-based Chevron Corp--the nations third- and fourth-largest oil companies respectively--as potential buyers They are likely to consider buying smaller rivals because most of their peers are now spoken for namely Exxon Mobil and Amoco Yet it is also possible that some of those smaller rivals might pair up to bolster their positions Either way the consolidation is having a major impact on the three oil companies headquartered in Southern California Atlantic Richfield Co Arco and Occidental Petroleum Corp both based in Los Angeles and El Segundo-based Unocal Corp Arco a leading force in Southern California gasoline sales but a relatively small player worldwide has been rumored to be a takeover target for months
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