France: Sweetening the Oil

France's E.R.A.P. (for Entreprise de Recherches et d'Activités Pétrolières), a state-owned complex, would love to break into the ranks of the world's top oil-exploration and production outfits —by whatever means.

In a deal arranged by E.R.A.P. Chief Pierre Guillaumat, 57, a longtime De Gaulle lieutenant, E.R.A.P. will search for new oil reserves over 85,000 sq. mi. of Iranian desert and offshore tracts in the Persian Gulf. The French twist is that E.R.A.P. will operate as a contractor to Iran rather than a concession-holding partner. Instead of splitting earnings with the host country on a 25-75 basis, as most major international...

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