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Conoco Tops Prudential List For E&P Results

Conoco Tops Prudential List For E&P Results

For the second year in a row, Houston's Conoco tops the list in exploration and production results for 1999 in a comprehensive, comparative performance analysis of the major integrated energy companies by Prudential Securities.

Prudential compared 13 energy companies worldwide using nine criteria for its 1995-1999 period, a study done last year by Schroder & Co. In the Prudential report, Conoco placed in the highest tier for five of the nine performance criteria: production income, quality of earnings, cash flow, production replacement ratios and upstream returns. Other criteria rated adjusted production costs, depreciation, depletion and amortization expenses, finding and development costs and discounted future net cash flow.

Other companies to make the list included Royal Dutch/Shell, Exxon, Chevron, BP Amoco, Marathon, Texaco, UNOCAL, Amerada Hess, Arco, Mobil, ELF and Phillips.

When Conoco began 1999, oil and natural gas prices were low, so company officials decided to upgrade the asset portfolio of its upstream operations. At the same time, Conoco achieved industry leading production growth, and total production increased 9% from 1998, to 636,000 BOE/d, mostly because of a field in the North Sea, the Petrozuata heavy oil joint venture in Venezuela and in the Ursa field in the Gulf of Mexico.

Upstream also continued with a strong record of exploration success, and of the 20 wildcat exploration wells drilled, 50% were potentially commercial --- its best success rate in 30 years. Significant discoveries were made in deepwater Gulf of Mexico, Indonesia and the United Kingdom.

"1999 was an excellent year for Conoco's upstream business," said Rob McKee, executive vice president of exploration and production for Conoco. "We achieved record earnings, industry leading production growth, outstanding exploration success and our best safety performance on record."

Conoco now holds the sixth-largest deepwater acreage position in the Gulf of Mexico, with more than 300 leases in waters more than 1,000 feet deep.

Carolyn Davis, Houston

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