Inside Report (2)

Saudi Arabia's $2-a-barrel price hike for oil will hardly be noticed in the US. Biggest impact may be felt by four major oil companies, whose profit margins could get trimmed. At present, these firms -- Exxon, Mobil, Texaco, and Standard Oil of California -- buy from the Saudis at $28 a barrel, comfortably below the world price. That gives them an edge on their competitors.

The firms will no doubt try to pass along the steeper prices, but that's getting harder because of recent suprluses.m

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