Finance/Companies news briefs, May 15

Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton, reports record low production costs for its Fort McMurray, Alta., oilsands plant in 1999 and revenues of $2.2 billion (Can.). The consortium says per-barrel costs at the plant are now $12.64, the lowest since plant start-up in the late 1970s. The cost has dropped $1/bbl in the past year. Syncrude has set a production target of 90 million bbl for 2000 at a unit cost of $12.75. Syncrude is expanding to reach a production target of 165-170 million bbl by 2008. The new Aurora mining operation, north of the current upgrader unit, is scheduled to open in June. And a $3 billion upgrader expansion is in the engineering stage.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has approved the New York Mercantile Exchange's plan to convert to a for-profit organization from a not-for-profit membership structure. Members in the exchange will vote on the plan June 20. NYMEX is also seeking approval by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, as well as a ruling from the US Internal Revenue Service. If approved, membership will be converted into equity interest in the renamed New York Mercantile Exchange Inc., an entity to be incorporated in Delaware.

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