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Petroleum Industry

August 01, 1994

The Times provided a valuable public service in publishing a special section on "The Next Los Angeles" and an editorial urging all Angelenos to get on with the task of "reinventing our future" (July 17).

One aspect of the editorial, however, perpetuated a popular misconception that if allowed to go unchallenged could retard the resurgence of the Los Angeles economy. I'm referring to the notion that more mature industries, such as petroleum, are merely part of "our exuberant economic adolescence"--that they cannot be driving forces in recovery and growth.

As far as the petroleum industry is concerned, nothing could be further from the truth. A recent study shows that the refining sector of the industry here is the "most sophisticated in the world," and that it "ranks along with other Southern California high-tech industries as superlative in its field."

The study bases its claim on the fact that the petroleum industry has invested more than $1.5 billion in the Los Angeles Basin in the last four years, and is now spending an additional $2.6 billion of its stockholders' money on new plants and equipment to manufacture cleaner-burning reformulated gasolines.

Certainly, these kinds of investments, made in difficult times for the petroleum industry, demonstrate faith in the future of Los Angeles as well as in the innovative new technologies and processes developed by the industry itself.

DOUGLAS F. HENDERSON

Executive Director, Western States

Petroleum Assn., Glendale

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