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June 17, 1975 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1975-06-17

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LETTERS:
Mid-August best time for walkout
To The Daily: now, as well as in the Fall - page and be effective anytime. would be a more desirable time. the staff is out of work the bet-
WHEN THE wheels began to the time, day, or month maxes Why not get it togerber and It seems simple-minded to me ter. University immobility would
turn and University clericals no difference. strike when all or the majority to put an implicit faith in a be greatest without secretaries
realized they must get it to- On the other hand, there are of the units can have an effect? bargaining committee when: 1) in September and hence, a set-
gether and unionize in order to those who will strike in the Fall, NO ONE says we have to wait they have not yet proven them- tlement would be a saort-time
get fair treatment by the U5 of but not now. Taking this into until September 2 when things selves a worthy bargaining coming with staff out of work
M, who ever thought we would consideration, the timing of tne are in full swing. Why not mid- agency; and 2) if they advocate for a lesser period.
have to take a stand against strike will also determine its August, when everyonu's get- a strike in two weeks I ques- If the union has reasons be-
the labor unit and bargaining strength and effectiveness. It ting ready for the Fall rush? tion their bargaining ability hind the let's-strike-in-two-weeks
committee which we elected was clearly pointed out in our Also, by setting a strike date in when there appears to he evi- idea, they have to come up with
to represent us as well? It ap- meeting Wednesday how many mid-August, the UAW v.il have deuce that a strike in Sterm- some good reasons for it. I
pears that they do not realize more units will be affected by a little more leeway in gettiitg her would be by far the more haven't heard any from them
that the strength of support waiting. a contract signed by the Sep- advantageous time both in terms yet. When no one knows the
hinoes on timing of the strike. Face it - Accounting, pay- tember due-date (one year in of impact on the university and real state of the university, this
Those who are really strong roll, Cashiers Office, and the which to have a signed c o n- in terms of finances. cloud of secrecy (or is it disor-
supporters of striking will strike Hospital can cause a worn stop- tract) before voting take. pnlac Fall is- the time whei pro- ganization?) obscures issues

t

The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Tuesday, June 17, 1975
News Phone: 764-0552
PETRO-BIGWIGS GET COLD FEET

ai over again as to whether we
want a union to repretent us, as
well as which one. It appears
to me that this is the major rea-
son for the big push to strike
now rather than wait. Let's
compromise-vote mid-Augue! l
-Name withheld by
request
June 15
To The Daily:
IN FRIDAY'S Daily there was
a letter printed which advocated
a clerical strike in two weeks.
If we are going to strike it
seems to me that September

fessors organize their courses
into final form and prepare an
incredible amount of handouts
for students. Secretaries are sa
depended upon for this paper-,
work that the absence of their
assistance at this time t o u 1d
cripple the functioning of most
departments. The shockwave
produced by a shutdown then
would lead the universita to the
bargaining table much more
quickly than a summer strike
would, when professors are not
nearly as dependent o secre-
taries.
FINANCIALLY the les time

more. When it is difficult to
judge the odds of specific gains
through the union anyway. the
lack of facts that we coull be
getting doesn't help.
An appe l only to emotional-
ism is not what we need, but
some facts. Since the union is
being as bad as many think the
university is in hiding what gees
on, I have the feeling that none
of us are really in coitto! of
the situation, and the union has
taken on an entity of its own.
-Mary Lucas
Secretary
June 13

Gulf of
By KWON-PING HO
SINGAPORE - Nobody is
beating down the doors of the
Thai oil industry this year.
The gulf of Thailand's poten-
tially rich offshore oil areas -
formerly the scene of 1 a r g e
scale exploration and drilling
- are now quiet. In fact, four
of the seven oil companies
which sought and won oil con-
cessions just two years ago are
now inactive.
Overall drilling plans for 1975
have been cut in half, as the
oil companies find themselves
plagued by a year of inflation-
ary cIsts, a restrictive U.S. tax
bill, and a host of uncertainties
in the Thai political scene.
In 1973 Union Oil's much pub-
licized discovery of oil depos-
its in the Gulf fueled a flurry
of drilling activity. With t h e
energy crisis as a further spur,
oil companies embarked on am-
bitious and optimistic drilling
programs in 19 concession
areas. Saman Buravas, Direc-
tor General of Thailand's Min-
eral Resources Department -
which oversees petroleum ex-
ploration - predicted that by
1977, "oil and gas will be coin-
mercially produced."
With an oil import bill of
$600 million in 1974, an increase
of 160 per cent over 1973, Thai-
land has been anxious to be
self-sufficient in oil, and gave
the oil companies a go-ahead
which was much more advan-
tageous to the companies than
many ther deals they had made
with Asian governments.
IN NOVEMBER 1974, how-
ever, Saman announced -ha: it
would take until 1977 just to
know if oil could be commer-
cially produced. By May 1975,
his deouty refised even to sug-
gest a date, saying "we don't
know when the Gulf will be
commercially productive" --the
reason being that "eve 3 if a
well is geologically attractive,
it may not receive the neces-
sarv f-nds for level pmen. '
The lack of funds has forced
oil companies to cancel plans
bevond the obligatory sei-sic
surveys and minimum wells
specifiedin their ongnal con-
tracts. But outside from econ-
omic ills - which affect drilling
operations everywhere -- poli-

Thailand oil boom on the skids

tics is the primary rea
"treading water" in t
rather than drilling.
"When Pan Am c
Bangkok because of
monstrations at the U.
bassy, an oil executive
"you can imagine what
vestment climate has b
Prominent Thai indus
on the other hand, appe
confident.
"If I was worried ab
Domino Theory or other
nonsense," asked K. Y
Managing Director of t
Oil Refinery Co., the o4
largest refinery, "would
decided to invest $100
for a lubricating oilp
days before the gener
tions?"
"But the impet
nationalism, like
sure for withdrav
U.S. military f
would most like/
originate with the
ernment."
NEVERTHELESS, it i
that the. domino jitters
play the major role in
fears. David Lyman, P
of the American Chat
Commerce, figures onl
per cent chance of exte
gression" - and attri
shaky business confid
domestic politics. For
companies, domestic
translates into a fear of
alization of expropriatio.
The TEMCO (Thai I
tion & Mining Company)
versy early this year hid
the issue of who should

son for , national resources, and whether
he Gulf mining concessions granted dur-
ing the corrupt Thano-n-Prap-
overtlies has regime (overthrown in
the de- 1973) - if found to b4 detri-
S. Em- mental to national interests -
said, should be unilaterally cancelled.
the in- TEMCO, a tin mining j o i n t
ecome." venture by the Thai Gtvern-
trialists, ment, Union Carbide and a sub-
ar to be sidiary of Shell Oil, was accus-
ed by critics of exploitative
practices. Pressure was pt on
out t h e the government to restrict all
fs c h mineral prospecting to 100 per
. Chow, cent Thai-owned companies and
he Thai to expropriate one TEMCO con-
*intry's cession without compensation'.
II have
million BUT THE impetus for nntion-
al til 14 alization, like pressure ftw with-
al elec- drawal of U.S. military forces,
would most likely not origiate
from the government itself. If
popular sentiment toward.s fore-
siiitiii ign investment takes a hostile
turn, fears of "gentle retalia-
tion" would not be able Ia pre-
us for vent the Thai government 'from
succumbing to nationalist pres-
sures.
Some forward-looking cl ex-
Mal of ecutives are in fact hopsn that
a Thai national oil companv will
soon be formed. According to
orces, them, it is only a matter of
time before the Thais organize
y not their petroleum industry l i k e
other Asian nations.
e goY- The drop-off in drilling 'aciv-
ity is not wholly due to politi-
cal instabilities however. As
worldwide consumption of pe-
troleum has decreased, the ur-
ur- gency of finding new fields has
dissolved in a glut of surplus
oil. And with the casts of dril-
is t r u e ling a well almost doubling in
do not the past year to $344 million,
business continued -exploration has be-
resident come prohibitively expensive.
.ber of Finally, when the chance of
y a "2 striking oil diminishes, the en-
real ag- tire venture becomes unattrac-
utes the tively high-risk.
etce to "IT WAS only last year," said
the o il Dr. C. Y. ei, a petroleum ex-
po┬░tics pert, "that we realized the Gulf
f natn was not as geologically prom-
ising as we had all thought."
. The tertiary formation of t h e
Explora- earth's crust, the most likely
ohm- source of oil, has been found to
be thin and unpromising in the
hlighted Gulf, and oil companies are re-
I exploit luctant to invest the money for

deeper drilling. In an attempt
to keep oil exploration alive,
'only "pre-investment studies"
are under way - in the hope
that promising results may
bring renewed drilling.
The companies still drilling
in the Gulf are Union, Sun, and
Triton. Union is the only oper-
ator with any enthusiasm about
its finds, the other two a r e
simply drilling obligatory wells.
For the inactive companies,
"treading water" has meant
holding onto the concessions
with a minimum of ependiture.
According- to an informed oil
executive, there is currently
a behind-the-scenes flurry of ne-
gotiations between .he inactive
oil majors and small operators
which bad never been able to
bid for the original c)nces.sions.
Every oil concessionaire is how
either in partnership w'h other
operators or looking for some-
one. The desperate attempt to
"farm out" interests in the con-
cessions would enable original
concessionaires to still retain
control over their turfs b 'It
pass the costs of drilling the ob.

ligatory wells on to t'i; new
partners.
THE THAI government umean-
while has tried to en I the it-
certainty of oil pros"'ting in
the Gi-If because of conflirting
claims of the Thais, Catabsd-
ians, and South Vietnamese
there. Several years ago, a rig
that the Cambodian govtrrnment
allowed to drill in disputed wat-
ers almost led to war wi'h the
South Vietnamese, an oil com-
panies that the Thais allowed to
conduct seismic surve,s 5n the
disputed areas have inc. bees
denied permission.
While there seems - 7 be no
quick solution for the botudirv
issue, several weeks ago t he
Thai government told oil conm-
panies to consider disputed
areas as "supplemunlary con-
cessions," not liable to the e't-
piration dates covering t h e i r
original contracts. TI.)c span-
ies like Tenneca, -nau3 t wO
blocks are 20 per cet and 26
per cent inside disputed areaS,
this means more of a chane
for exploration once the 'issae
is amicably settled.

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