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About Ellen F. Rosenblum
Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that Oregon, along with Washington and California, will settle its legal action challenging the proposed merger between British Petroleum Amoco and ARCO, a California-based oil company. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also today announced its intention to resolve its related action against the same companies by preliminarily approving a similar settlement.
"With gas prices as high as they are, the last thing Oregon consumers want is a market that provides no incentive to keep gas prices as low as possible," Myers said. "The lawsuits served as an incentive to continue negotiations, which resulted in a merger that satisfies my concerns about its potential impact on gas prices in Oregon."
Oregon, in conjunction with Washington and California, filed a lawsuit in federal district court on February 7 of this year similar to one filed three days earlier by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The lawsuits were filed after negotiations broke down over terms that the states and FTC sought to preserve competition in West Coast petroleum products markets. Negotiations beginning after the lawsuits were filed led to an agreement that BP and Arco will sell all of Arco's assets relating to the exploration, production and transportation of Alaska North Slope crude oil to a third company, Phillips Petroleum Company, for an estimated $7 billion.
"We expect Phillips will be a strong competitor for the sale of Alaskan North Slope crude oil to West Coast refiners," Myers said. "That competition for sales to refineries is essential to Oregon. Our state depends almost entirely on Washington refineries for its retail supply of gasoline, and those refineries get their crude oil almost exclusively from Alaskan sources."
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