...And The Flames Singe Castle

Joseph L. Castle II, chief executive of Castle Energy Corp., has been getting a harrowing crash course in international economics. Based in Radnor, Pa., Castle is 40% owned by Metallgesellschaft. A refiner that produces 126,000 barrels of oil a day, Castle is especially vulnerable to Metallgesellschaft's woes because MG Corp., the German conglomerate's U.S. unit, is Castle's only customer. "We're sort of the other side of what happens to them," says CEO Castle. If Metallgesellschaft collapsed, Castle would have a hard time surviving as an independent company.

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