Hibernia Owners May Dissolve Partnership

Partners in Canada's Hibernia offshore oil project may dismantle its joint operating company and appoint ExxonMobil operator to boost efficiency and cut costs, Petro-Canada's chief executive said on Monday. The project in the North Atlantic off the Newfoundland coast has been operated by Hibernia Management & Development Co., an entity jointly owned by its six partners, since long before it started pumping in late 1997. "There are some discussions along those lines that are ongoing as we speak," Petro-Canada chief executive Ron Brenneman during in a conference call with analysts. "We would be for that...Basically a single operator in that particular case would probably suit the owners better than the HMDC organization that we have had." Exxon Mobil is Hibernia's biggest interest owner, with 33.125 percent.

Brenneman, whose company has a 20-percent stake in Hibernia, said he expected the project to pump an average of 170,000 barrels a day this year, although on some recent days the massive concrete platform has produced more than 200,000.

The other partners in Hibernia, located 210 miles east of St. John's, Newfoundland, are ChevronTexaco Corp. with 26.875 percent, Murphy Oil Corp. with 6.5 percent, the government of Canada's Canada Hibernia Holding Corp. with 8.5 percent, and Norsk Hydro with 5 percent.


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