Analysis: ‘Sons of Wichita’ and U.S. Oil Refineries

Posted August 18, 2014 at 5:10am

The Financial Times writes: “One of many reasons for putting Daniel Schulman’s Sons of Wichita on your summer reading list is that it is a useful reminder that the least glamorous parts of the energy business can sometimes be the most lucrative.”  

“The biography of the billionaire Koch brothers tells how Fred Koch, the patriarch who laid the foundations for the family’s fortune, started a highly successful company selling thermal cracking technology, a standard feature of modern oil refineries. Today Charles and David Koch, two of Fred’s sons, control a vast and diversified business empire, but the roots of it all are in refineries.”  

The piece concludes: “For Fred Koch, defending his competitive advantage meant two decades fighting through the courts to protect his rights to his thermal cracking technology.”  

“With international pressure now added to the calls from oil-extraction companies for them to be allowed to export crude, US refiners today are facing a similarly intense battle to protect their interests.”