Watching the World
Elephant economics

Elf Aquitaine SA appears to have cornered the market for big finds with its recent string of oil strikes off West Africa (OGJ, Oct. 25, 1999, Newsletter).Yet Pierre Senequier, Elf's vice-president for technology, told the Deep Offshore Technology conference in Stavanger last month that big is no longer beautiful unless it is also cost-effective.Eight months ago, when the Brent price was about $11/bbl, Senequier's group was asked to give a presentation to financial analysts on Elf's deep offshore program.Because nobody was prepared to be "a scapegoat or sacrificial anode," the presentation concentrated on the medium term rather than the immediate future, preaching optimism based o...

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