High oil prices boost interest in French E&P business

Higher world oil prices and modest costs of acquiring acreage have boosted the interest of small and midsize oil companies in Frances's mature exploration and production business.The country's oil production last year fell 6.5% to a total of 1.14 million tonnes—about 22,800 b/d.In recent years, companies with experience with mature fields as well as low overhead costs have taken over from the larger E&P firms. Case in point: Esso Rep, which sold its oldest oil field, Parentis, in 1997 to Vermilion Rep.Also, high oil prices did not deter Esso Rep late last year from putting up for sale its entire Esso Rep affiliate, which owns all of its fields in France. The bid has elicited...

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