The nationalistic backlash spent itself in costly attacks that achieved few lasting results. The underlying structures assured that the flow of events moved against increased participation by the National Petroleum Company. The foreign oil companies, like expert marksmen with only a few shots left, still intervened, with telling effects in cases involving Amazon oil and foreign exchange, but so close had their alliance become with the Colombian elite that direct efforts were required less frequently. Thus, the foreign companies merely watched as Ecopetrol drifted into the white gasoline quagmire, and only a few shoves—with the blessings of the elite—were needed to push Colombia over the precipice of having to import massive amounts of oil just as the 1973 energy crisis was beginning.