Another US oil company leaves Italy
Rome — US oil companies are pulling out of Italy at an accelerating pace because of heavy losses and government interference, says a top industry official. According to a Reuter report, Achille Albonetti, president of the Italian Oil Industry Association, said Chevron Oil of the United States was considering withdrawal from the market following the example of Amoco, which recently sold off its Italian operations to Saudi financial interests.
Two other major US groups, Mobil and Gulf, earlier closed their jointly owned refinery at Bertonico, near Milan, and at least two of the remaining companies, Esso and Total, suffered record operating losses last year, he said.
Mr. Albonetti, chairman of the French Total group's Italian unit, Total SPA, said hostile tax treatment would add about a billion dollars this year to the industry's basic losses caused by government price controls and shrinking demand.
''If you draw up a list of countries where you would hope to see a reasonable medium-term return, Italy comes pretty near the bottom,'' one top US executive commented.
Association figures show Italian oil consumption fell some 5 percent last year to 90 million metric tons from 94.6 million in 1981.