Senators Seek Review of Chevron, Texaco Deal

The chairman and ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary's antitrust subcommittee said they plan to carefully review the proposed $35 billion merger of Chevron Corp. and Texaco Inc. because of the industry consolidation issues raised.

"We are seriously concerned by the news of the planned merger between Chevron and Texaco," said Subcommittee Chairman Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Herb Kohl (D-WI), ranking minority member of the panel. If approved by federal regulators, a combined ChevronTexaco would become the third largest natural gas and oil producer in the United States behind BP Amoco and ExxonMobil.

"Consumers all across the country are suffering from very high [energy] prices," the senators noted, and "vigorous competition is essential to constrain these prices." But the proposed Chevron-Texas union will take the industry "further down the road of consolidation [that] we have been concerned about for the last couple of years."

In addition to close review by the Senate antitrust panel, "we expect this deal to face careful scrutiny [by federal] antitrust authorities, both to explore the industry-wide effects of such a deal and to examine the local market implications," they said.

In contrast, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson had a positive reaction to the news of the Chevron-Texaco proposed merger. "These are two solid companies. This is one of the inevitable outgrowths of the global economy."

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