Watching the World
E&P takeovers loom

Small may be beautiful, but the latest financial figures from two petroleum megamajors suggest that biggest is best.Helped by improved crude oil prices and streamlined businesses, Royal Dutch/Shell and BP Amoco PLC disclosed improvements in third quarter profits of 165% and 72%, respectively, compared with the same period in 1998. Shell's third quarter profit was $2.378 billion, while BP Amoco's was $1.955 billion.Shell said that the price for prompt Brent crude averaged $20.60/bbl during the quarter, compared with $12.45/bbl in the third quarter of 1998. The price trend was also upwards during the quarter, increasing from about $17/bbl in early July 1999 to more than $23/bbl by the...

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