Esso reviews French exploration following depletion cut

Chairman and CEO of Esso Rep SAF Patrick Heinzle said his company is reconsidering French exploration following the government's move last November to slash the depletion allowance 95%. It posted 2000 profits of 53 million euros, up from 23 million last year. But production fell by 9% to 402,000 tonnes.


By an OGJ Online Correspondent

PARIS, Apr. 5 -- Chairman and CEO of Esso Rep SAF Patrick Heinzle said his company is reconsidering French exploration following the government's move last November to slash the depletion allowance 95%.

Heinzle said Esso only plans exploration in the Aquitaine basin, offshore in the Bay of Biscay where a dry hole was drilled in 1999 and onshore on the Lège permit and La Boustyeve.

No exploration is planned for the mature Paris basin, where development drilling is continuing at Chaunoy and Courbey fields, and in the Aquitaine basin at Cazaux and Arbousier fields.

Esso Rep has posted 2000 profits of 53 million euros, up from 23 million last year. But production fell by 9% to 402,000 tonnes, which still leaves Esso Rep the leading oil producer in France.

Esso's refining-distribution profits were 244 million euros, pulled along by the highest margins in the past 20 years. This compared with a 51 million-euro loss in 1999.

Following the creation of ExxonMobil Corp., Esso is integrating with Mobil Oil Française and Esso Refining SAF is operating Mobil's refinery on the Notre-Dame-de-Gravenchon site in Normandy and has become the commercial agent for Mobil Oil Française. Both Esso and Mobil brands are sold under their own names.

Esso and Mobil have adjoining refineries at Port-Jérome-Notre-Dame-de-Gravenchon, an industrial site that has a work force of 2,500. They have total capacity of 11 million tonnes/year and a 900,000-tonne base lube oil capacity. Investments are planned to comply with tighter fuel specifications.

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