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    BP Tops Prudential Ranking of Oil Companies

    World's largest firms staying ahead of growth in global demand.

    DALLAS -- BP topped the rankings of eight major oil companies for the fourth consecutive year and was among the leaders in production replacement, according to a study by Prudential Equity Group.

    The study spans the five-year period of 1999 to 2003 and analyzes production income, quality of earnings, production replacement ratios, finding and development costs, discounted future net cash flow and returns from exploration and production activities.

    Over the five-year period, BP, ExxonMobil, Total, ConocoPhillips, ChevronTexaco, Marathon Oil, Royal Dutch/Shell Group and Amerada Hess replaced 134 percent of their production at an average cost of $5.18 per barrel of oil equivalent (boe). Excluding acquisitions net of divestments, the production replacement ratio was 115 percent.

    Total led the group with a five-year production replacement average of 162 percent followed by BP and ConocoPhillips. Marathon, in last place, replaced 39 percent.

    The results show that at least some of the world's largest oil companies are staying ahead of growth in global demand. According to data from the Energy Information Administration, worldwide oil consumption rose 3.3 percent to 78.21 million barrels per day in 2002 from 75.73 million per day in 1999.

    The companies earned, on average, $5.82 per boe and generated cash flow from exploration and production activities of $10.02 per boe. They spent a total of $242 billion to find, develop and acquire oil and natural gas.

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