Power play on horizon for Big Oil
After a wave of consolidation and a rough ride from volatile crude prices, Big Oil is limbering up for a push into the brave new world of deregulated power to try to reinforce its already strong grip on the energy business.
Oil heavyweights like Exxon Mobil and ChevronTexaco are quietly expanding power assets in developing countries. They also are looking to make the most of deregulation in mature markets like North America, although U.S. antitrust regulators could hamper more consolidation.
Rivals Shell and BP have already put their stamp on the growing gas and power market, as big backers of the Web-based Intercontinental Exchange, which has moved quickly to fill the opening left by the demise of former kingpin Enron Corp.
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