Editor's note: J.M. Smucker has never used paraffin wax in its Magic Shell dessert topping. A previous version of this story reported otherwise. The Fool regrets the error.

Paraffin wax is one of those handy substances whose petroleum origins are rarely considered. You can find it in scented candles sold by Clorox (NYSE:CLX), Crayola crayons, and the surf wax sold at Zumiez (NASDAQ:ZUMZ). Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) even uses the stuff as a fixative to preserve biopsies.

We've discussed Motley Fool Global Gains selection Sasol (NYSE:SSL) and leadership in synfuel technology. Sasol also happens to be Europe's leading paraffin producer. Regulators have been investigating antitrust issues in the paraffin-wax sector ever since a proposed Sasol and Total S.A. (NYSE:TOT) joint venture waved a big red flag back in 2005. The U.S. Department of Justice announced last month that it has chosen not to take action against Sasol, but the EU has leveled antitrust charges against various European companies, including two Sasol subsidiaries.

To put this issue in proper perspective, we're talking about 1.3% of the firm's operating profit, versus nearly 80% for synfuels. The implications herfe are very minor compared to those Sasol is having with tiny intruders at its Oryx gas-to-liquids plant in Qatar. Even in that case, I think Sasol can resolve its present technical problems. The stock has dropped more than 10% since the Oryx news broke; while I'm not prepared to declare Sasol downright cheap, it does look attractive, based on its potential to outperform many of the oil majors over the next decade or more.

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Zumiez is a Hidden Gems pick. Quest Diagnostics is an Inside Value selection. Total is an Income Investor recommendation. Try any of our newsletters free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Toby Shute likes to wax philosophical. He doesn't own shares in any company mentioned. Toby does enjoy waxing poetic about the Motley Fool's disclosure policy.