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May 14, 1982



Oil glut talk based solely on economics can be misleading.

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So say some Texas oilmen who insist that political and strategic factors must be weighed in, too. No matter how many Mideast or Alaskan oil gushers come in, they say, have-not countries are going to keep searching for domestic supplies. Zapata Off-Shore president Thomas McIntosh points to Brazil as one country ''determined to be self-sufficient, regardless of cost.''

Then there's Exxon's withdrawal from the massive Colorado oil shale project. Officially, Exxon pulled out because low crude prices make synfuels uneconomic. But some energy experts say Exxon had been warned that Arab oil producers would cut crude prices to whatever level needed to prevent synfuel development.

The reason? To keep the West dependent on Mideast oil -- thereby pressuring the US to side with Arab, not Israeli, interests in the Mideast.