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French oil investments in Canada Lesage, Jean- Pierre

Abstract

Three French oil companies invested in Canada, they are: — Compagnie Française des Pétroles (C.F.P.), in 1953, which created the French Petroleum Co. of Canada. — Société Nationale des Pétroles d'Aquitaine (S.N.P.A.), in 1963, which created Aquitalne Co. of Canada Ltd. — Entreprise de Recherches et d'activité Petroliéres (E.R.A.P.), in 1963, which created Elf Exploration and Production of Canada Ltd. All these companies are located in Calgary,Alberta. These companies came to Canada for two main reasons: — the stability of the country, both economic and political. — the potential for oil discovery. Their investments are different: — S.N.P.A. invested $58,183,412 (Dec. 31, 1967) or 14% of its total assets. — C.F.P. invested $33,834,213 or 4% of its total assets. — E.R.A.P. invested $9,168,412 or 1.2% of its total assets. Their policies also are different: — S.N.P.A. and C.F.P. work principally in Alberta which can be considered as the most proven zone of Canada. — E.R.A.P. is more interested in the long term and invests much in the Arctic regions of Canada. This leads to differences in their results: — S.N.P.A. is the most successful Of the French Oil Investors: Aquitaine had a production of 5,111,409 barrels in 1967, this represents 33% of the total production of S.N.P.A. for the same year. This is due to the big discovery of Rainbow, Alberta. Its rate of return on investment is 6.0%, which is above the Canadian average of — C.F.P. did not make any big discovery but did make small ones. The production of its subsidiary in Canada was l,ll4,339 barrels in 1967, or .3% of its total production. Its rate of return on investment is 1.9%. — E.R.A.P. is exploring and not producing in Canada. Therefore it appears that except for Aquitaine these investments are not financially profitable for the French companies to date. The total of the French oil companies in Canada represents only 1.4% of the total oil production of Canada. Therefore these investments are not quantitatively significant for Canada. Their significance for Canada is that they are a change from American capital because the United States owned 62% of the Canadian oil industry in 1962. The interest of Canada and France is mutual: the French oil companies wanted to diversify their investments, Canada wanted to diversify its sources of capital .

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