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The Times 100: The Best Performing Companies in California

Arco : No. 3 on the Sales 100

May 07, 1996

Though Atlantic Richfield Co. holds the No. 3 sales position in the Times 100, it is the state's largest marketer of gasoline products.

And like Chevron, Arco can expect improved refining and marketing earnings, analysts said. Arco runs one of the most efficient "downstream"--refining and marketing--operations in the industry, analysts say.

On the "upstream" side--oil exploration and production--the company has been aggressively moving to bolster its position beyond its core Alaskan fields. Though Arco reports slight gains in oil and natural gas production from Alaska's legendary North Slope, the future of that field is limited, and Arco, like other domestic oil companies, has been looking overseas for more, particularly in Algeria and the North Sea.

This year, Arco said it would boost its holdings in Russia's largest oil company, Lukoil, and will spend $3 billion over the next 10 years to explore for petroleum in the former Soviet Union.

In 1995, Arco began producing oil from its fields in the North Sea off the United Kingdom, and natural gas from its holdings in the South China Sea.

Analysts foresee lower income from Arco's chemical businesses: its 49.9% stake in Lyondell Petrochemical and its 83% piece of Arco Chemical.

In the first quarter, Arco reported net income of $370 million, including a $28-million gain from special items. Its 1995 earnings were the highest since 1990.

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