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Supplies Drop as Big Oil's Power Shrivels

State-owned firms don't churn it out like Shell
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2008 2:55 AM CDT
Supplies Drop as Big Oil's Power Shrivels
A length of pipe is removed from an oil well in Signal Hill, Calif. Oil producers nationwide are taking a second look at decades-old wells once considered tapped out and unprofitable    (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

(Newser) – A rapidly changing world order has left the giant oil companies all monied up with nowhere to drill, the New York Times reports. The Western oil giants' share of production has plummeted from over half in the 1970s to just 13% today. Production is falling as oil supplies remain in the hands of foreign state-owned firms which lack expertise.

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"Resource nationalism" has left most of the world's untapped supplies in the hands of countries that restrict Big Oil's access. The shift in power to state-owned companies has analysts worried.  "We are going to depend on the Venezuelan, the Nigerian or the Iranian oil companies for the future of our oil supplies,” one said. “This is a troubling trend." (Read more peak oil stories.)

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