(ZNS) - American oi] companies for the past several decades have been drilling productive oil wells in the Middle East - and then have been secretly capping them in order to keep world petroleum suppliesat low levéis. According to the Chicago Tribune, this policy of keeping secret the locatión of many potential oil wells was practiced by international oil companies in order to drive up the price of petroleum around the world. The Tribune said it learned of the practice from both American officials and from sources inside several Arab governments. The newspaper added that the locatión of many oil wells was kept secret even from the Arab governments themselves. As a result, says the Tribune, when Arab governments learned that foreign companies had been deliberately hiding oil wells, the Arabs began nationalizing American companies in retaliation. According to the Tribune, one of the main reasons for the Iraqi government's decisión to break diplomatic relations with the United States in 1967 was the discovery by'Iraq that American oil companies had deliberately falsified oil reports submitted to the Iraqi government.