Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil lost
an auction for Nigeria's most promising oil and gas fields last
year to companies controlled by South Korea. In Venezuela, Royal Dutch Shell's bid to develop an offshore gas deposit collapsed when Brazil's state oil company stepped in. The world's biggest publicly
traded oil producers are losing reserves to state-run companies willing to pay higher prices for energy needed to fuel growing economies. Petroleo Brasileiro SA, China's Cnooc Ltd. and India's Oil & Natural Gas Corp. have all bought reserves in the past year. The increasing competition for oil and gas fields is driving up costs, hurting corporate profits, while bolstering crude oil prices
by inflating the cost of production. In the early 1990s, less rivalry for fields existed because countries such as China produced more oil than they consumed and prices were lower.
(Source: The Journal News)