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

Prudential compared 13 energy companies worldwide using ninecriteria for its 1995-1999 period, a study done last year bySchroder & Co. In the Prudential report, Conoco placed in thehighest tier for five of the nine performance criteria: productionincome, quality of earnings, cash flow, production replacementratios and upstream returns. Other criteria rated adjustedproduction costs, depreciation, depletion and amortizationexpenses, finding and development costs and discounted future netcash 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, socompany officials decided to upgrade the asset portfolio of itsupstream operations. At the same time, Conoco achieved industryleading production growth, and total production increased 9% from1998, 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 Ursafield in the Gulf of Mexico.

Upstream also continued with a strong record of explorationsuccess, and of the 20 wildcat exploration wells drilled, 50% werepotentially 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 andproduction for Conoco. “We achieved record earnings, industryleading production growth, outstanding exploration success and ourbest safety performance on record.”

Conoco now holds the sixth-largest deepwater acreage position inthe Gulf of Mexico, with more than 300 leases in waters more than1,000 feet deep. Its deepwater drill ship, the DeepwaterPathfinder, was put in service last year and made two discoveriesin 1999, one on the Magnolia prospect in 4,700 feet of water about160 miles south of Lafayette, LA. Another discovery was made on theK2 prospect, about 180 miles south of New Orleans.

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