Steve Coll argues that Exxon pursues its own foreign policy and is willing to contradict the wishes of official US policy. Maybe, but in other cases it's all too clear that Exxon works in concert with US policy and certainly with the US Establishment. It is well documented that the CIA has so infiltrated Wall Street and the corporate sector that sometimes they're hard to tell apart.
I'm not talking about secret agents planting bugs in board rooms or clandestinely downloading files onto thumb drives, though plenty of that happens too. I'm talking about above board people who pass information, have handlers and/or work in concert with the agendas and concerns of other extra-corporate organisations. In some cases these people are top figures within the respected hierarchies, sometimes the figures at the very top.
Right now there's a desperate push to get US natural gas resources into Asia. The US is trying to bolster its own economy and establish closer ties of dependency within the group of allies and potential allies in the new theatre of the Asian Cold War.
Mulacek the founder of Interoil is being marginalised and he's angry about it. His company has been all but stolen from him but that's the risk you take when you go public. You get the funds and the ability to create money out of thin air with inflated stock values, but you can also place yourself at risk.
Exxon's push into the region is not entirely economic, it's strategic. Often the two concerns go together. Interoil's discovery of a new gas field in Papua New Guinea is rightly called a 'goldmine' and it's one that the US wants to control and ensure that China and any other undesirables is unable to gain access to it.