World of Oil ///

Profits rose 70% for 21 of 23 US energy companies, according to a Bloomberg index that reported before Feb. 7, despite strong profit-taking in related commodity prices and after five quarters of earnings declines. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index showed that US energy companies had the highest fourth-quarter earnings gains of any industry. Anadarko Petroleum and ExxonMobil were the top performers. ChevronTexaco, the best performer among integrated firms, saw a nearly 2% gain after closing a gas deal with Venezuela. Due to increased profits, companies have begun to increase spending. Anadarko has committed to spending $2.17 billion of its $2.3-billion capital budget for 2003 on development projects. ChevronTexaco revealed it will spend about 75% of its $8.5 billion on worldwide E&P in 2003. Marathon Oil Corp. approved a $2-billion capital investment and exploration expenditure budget for 2003 – an 8% increase over 2002 actual expenditures, excluding acquisitions.

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