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Here’s the entire text of the Q&A from Exxon Mobil’s (ticker: XOM) Q3 2005 conference call. The prepared remarks are here. We recognize that this transcript may contain inaccuracies - if you find any, please post a comment below and we’ll incorporate your corrections. And please note: this conference call transcript is a Seeking Alpha product, so feel free to link to it but reproduction is not permitted without the explicit permission of Seeking Alpha.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

Thank you, Mr. Hubble the Q&A session will be conducted electronically if you would like to ask a question please do so by pressing the “*” key followed by the digit “1” on your touchtone telephone. We request that you limit your number of questions to two so that as many may have the opportunity to participate as possible. If you are using a speakerphone please make sure the mute function is turned off to signal to reach our equipment. Once again that is * 1 if you do have a question. We will go first to Doug Terreson of Morgan Stanley.

Doug Terreson

Good morning Henry and congratulations on a record third quarter result. My question involves a downstream and specifically a petroleum product sales and refining and specifically with your global positioning that you guys have, you obviously have insights into fundamental trends and lots of different markets for petroleum and so I want to see if you could provide an update on the trends that you guys have experienced in the past quarter or not only in North America but in Europe and Asia as well. And while I realize that you provide petroleum product sales in the release they are often unusual effect but you talked about the day related to strategic actions and whether and what had you so I want to see if you could review the trends that you guys are seeing and if you have apples to apples on a comparable basis that will be appreciated.

Henry Hubble

I guess if you look at the volumes that we had in the third quarter year-on-year we were about flat. And in fact we were actually up 1 % in the U.S. Now that reflected the fact we were offsetting hurricane impacts by importing product basically to meet the demands there. In Europe we were down some but really that reflected the export of products. Basically we were using our facilities to relocate products from the European markets so although we’d see underlying we do have the divestments in and activities going on there, but overall I have not really seen a basic decline in demand.

Doug Terreson

Okay. Let me ask you this question. I don’t know if you had this data or not but do you have same store sales in retail for instance for North America.

Henry Hubble

No I don’t. If step back from all of this and you look at what our global demand has been for the year, we are up about 1.3% year-to-date versus last year. And we really and the effects you see in our numbers, it will show some down in Latin America area, Middle East Africa but again that’s more restructuring activities not something really seen as underlying demand.

Doug Terreson

Okay. And let shift gears on you. And you guys obviously had significant gain on the transfers of Gasunie position and so I would suspect that you are also going to have lower profits in the future and if memory serves me correct your net profits from that position was $30-40 million per year, isn’t that the ballpark or can you provide more updated estimate.

Henry Hubble

We haven’t really had disclosed that. But I don’t see where you are going with the lower earnings. I mean this restructuring it’s that gas in the Gasunie basically it is domestic gas, if you look at the longer-term trends in Europe. They are going to need imports so this gas it is going to be base loaded. And so we are not seeing that as an ongoing impact.

Doug Terreson

That answers the question and thanks a lot and good numbers.

Operator

And we will move next to Bruce Lanni at A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc.

Bruce Lanni

Hey Henry. Great quarter. I wanted you to do me a favor as far as what’s going on in the cost contained area you do guys do an obviously job there. You guys do obviously an exceptional job there you really don’t have any significant cost overruns, can you try and tell us what it is reflected in your returns so can you tell us basically what type of underlying inflation rate you are seeing and how you are mitigating that, that would be my first question and then a second question just on the EMP side - number of new project have come on stream, you‘ve got some more coming on later this year. PSE’s are impacting you, assets sales, but can you give us just some type of color on what mixture will look like in light of those two factor also the assets sales and PSE on your volumes?

Henry Hubble

First let’s start on the APEX side of things. I guess if you look at underlying inflation it’s still in terms of our overall APEX it’s pretty low. You are seeing more pressure in the project areas where rig rates and services and that kind of thing. But even so in our project as you see from the results, I mean we have been able to offset those, mitigate an awful lot of them. Basically through the contracting strategies, the approaches that we have, but if you step back and you look at it on an industry level, lot of those areas, the rig rates have gone up fairly substantially, but it just makes it more important that you focus on how you utilizing the effectiveness of utilizing those rigs. The success of wells, the development plans that we put in place all of these things that reduce the amount of real time that we have, the number of feet we get per day of drilling, all these are critical and managing those costs and mitigating those costs and that’s really where we are putting our focus, so that when we look ahead, we actually see this kind of environment as expanding out the differentiation that we had in the past. I guess the other question that you had was around…

Bruce Lanni

Well on your production, I mean if you take out, if you look at asset sales this year and PSE impacts and also the hurricane. Basically if you take that out, your production is going to be essentially flat this year. What I am asking you is going into 2006, you are still going to have some impacts from PCSs, do you expect the same level of asset sales, I mean what type of guidance or color can you provide?

Henry Hubble

I mean the things, as you know we update this once a year, our whole profile and we are going through the planning process right now what we’ve been doing that. So that will be coming later, but you know, its all going to depend. I mean the internal impacts are going to depend where prices and that going to reflect back it’s in reverse if they go down, go up if they go up. I mean it’s going to depend on the prices. The asset sales that we made you know are going to continue through. I mean those assets are gone, so you are not going to see them in our profile for next year. And whether there are additional assets sales, I wouldn’t expect anything out of the ordinary at this point.

Bruce Lanni

Ok, well at the end, terrific quarter, Thank you.

Henry Hubble

Thank you, appreciate it.

Operator

And next we’d move to Arjun Murti at Goldman Sachs.

Arjun Murti

Henry, is it possible for you to split out the out-of-pocket cost expenses from the hurricanes on your refining and chemical operations, not to mention the volume impact which you provided but, what sort of cleanup cost and other cost effects you had from the hurricane?

Henry Hubble

Well I mean the costs in our press release we indicated were about $45 million of cost in the third quarter. And that really the relatively small and that was associated with the response clean up activities and also there was a fair contribution to community efforts, over $13 million.

Arjun Murti

And in terms of fourth quarter similar type impacts or little bit more?

Henry Hubble

Well, when you look at impacts going forward because the bulk of the actual repairs will occur in the fourth quarter from after refineries and so on. But that’s the bulk of the cost that will be there, there will up some but still under a $100 million after tax.

Arjun Murti

That’s great and then secondly Henry, Conoco Philips early this week announced an agreement with the State of Alaska of some sort regarding natural gas from the North Slope. Can you comment on where you all stand in terms of negotiating with the State of Alaska and how you are thinking about that project?

Henry Hubble

Well, we are in active discussions with the Alaskan government on fiscal terms and progress is being made and we are encouraged by that. But there are still something that have get resolved before we have this finalized.

Arjun Murti

That’s great, thank you.

Operator

Next will be Doug Leggate of Citigroup.

Doug Leggate

Thanks good morning Henry.

Henry Hubble

Good morning.

Doug Leggate

Henry, I wonder if you could help my modeling shortcomings on the international upstream. Obviously the volumes were down at bit. You mentioned there were some maintenance impacts there. Can you really quantify the sequential change in the production as a result of maintenance and perhaps give us some color on how that impacted unit cost in the quarter?

Henry Hubble

Well, the impact in the maintenance area if you look at you taking in the sequential comparison. Really the bulk of that was associate with European maintenance. And just looking here if I have--

Doug Leggate

Was that mostly scheduled, Henry was that some of the unexpected.

Henry Hubble

Well the schedule downtime was associated with fine maintenance and then we also have some, we had some continuing downtime associated with Shearwater. That was the biggest unscheduled piece.

Doug Leggate

Okay. If I look at these sequential changes in volumes on the realization changes, if I was coming up a little bit short in terms of the earnings you actually reported a little bit higher value you can note but below what I was looking for. So I’m wondering if there were any specific cost issues in that part of the business that you could identify.

Henry Hubble

No. It was pretty clean.

Doug Leggate

Ok. I have another. I guess my other question I have on, you give us some rundown on the sequential changes again on refining and marketing, between the refining and marketing, I missed some of those number, can you just maybe run through those again for me?

Henry Hubble

On the…

Doug Leggate

The deltas between the second and third quarter on the refining as opposed to marketing particularly in the US.

Henry Hubble

Ah, yes. The marketing piece is. All right if you are looking at margins, its about $1.1 billion up in refining and down to 250 in marketing.

Doug Leggate

That versus the second quarter.

Henry Hubble

That’s third quarter verses third quarter.

Doug Leggate

Oh, versus year-over-year, do you have it sequentially?

Henry Hubble

Sequentially they basically offset each others. Up 306, 350 million in refining and marketing offset it.

Doug Leggate

Great.

Henry Hubble

And we saw a lot of compression in margins and refining especially in the US.

Doug Leggate

Ok, Henry thanks for your clarification.

Operator

We will go next to Paul Chang at Lehman Brothers

Paul Chang

Good morning.

Henry Hubble

Morning.

Paul Chang

Hey, Henry. Two questions, I think that you give some impact about the entitlement to asset sales, Katrina and all that related to what's causing the year-to-date down of the production. Can you breakdown by individual item, I mean year-to-date you were down by about 4.5%, about 189,000 BOE per day. Can you break down, say, what's the impact from the PSE, what's the impact from other sales and what's the impact from the downtime, other than Katrina and Rita?

Henry Hubble

Other than Katrina and Rita?

Paul Chang

Right, Katrina and Rita you say is 50,000 for one quarter so that about 12.5, so we know that-.

Henry Hubble

What I've got, basically if you look at year-to-date numbers, year on year, it's about right around a percent each for entitlement, about a percent for the divestments and the hurricane impacts were about a percent. That was the major piece of our downtime.

Paul Cheng

Okay. Great. If I could, can you also let us know if there’s any major impact on the price finalization for your downstream and also any Capex gains or loss in the different divisions comparing to the second quarter?

Henry Hubble

Yeah. Price finalization impact in the third quarter versus in the third quarter and were very smaller under 50 and that if you look at the sequential is but 100.

Paul Cheng

Above 100?

Henry Hubble

Yes.

Paul Cheng

That’s pretax or, after tax?

Henry Hubble

That’s after tax.

Paul Cheng

So under 50 that is also after tax?

Henry Hubble

That’s correct.

Paul Cheng

And are they primarily in the U.S?

Henry Hubble

Let me just look here for a second.

Paul Cheng

And also, Henry, I suppose that has is a negative, right,.100 million charge?

Henry Hubble

Yes, that’s correct. Yeah and basically in the sequential its primarily in Europe.

Paul Cheng

Primarily in Europe?

Henry Hubble

That’s right. About 75% Europe.

Paul Cheng

Okay. How about Apex?

Henry Hubble

Forex.

Paul Cheng

Foreign exchange, any major gain or loss?

Henry Hubble

It was really very small all the way around. They were not be much in the way of currency changes during the quarter.

Paul Cheng

If I can just sneak in one side question, did you loose money in retail in the third quarter in U.S?

Henry Hubble

We had a period of negative margins, it was the lowest margins we’ve had on a quarterly basis.

Paul Cheng

Okay. Very good. Thank you.

Henry Hubble

All right.

Operator

We’ll move next to Nicole Decker at Bear Stearns.

Nicole Decker

Hi Henry. My questions on Africa, liquid production, quarter-over-quarter pretty impressive growth, was that Angola?

Henry Hubble

Yes that’s bringing on the Kizomba B project and it ramped up very rapidly and we’ve got that its been performing very well.

Nicole Decker

And Henry, what is Kizomba A producing now?

Henry Hubble

When we look at the total in the block where over 550,000 barrels of oil per day

Nicole Decker

That’s the Kizomba block or that includes--

Henry Hubble

That’s the block, yeah.

Nicole Decker

It includes Chikaba?

Henry Hubble

Yes

Nicole Decker

Okay. What is the quality of oil that is produced there?

Henry Hubble

Well, it’s a medium API, its not very high sulfur

Nicole Decker

Okay, So medium sweet.

Henry Hubble

Yeah.

Nicole Decker

Okay, thank you.

Operator

We will go next to Mark Flannery at Credit Suisse First Boston.

Mark Flannery

Hi, Yes. I have one question on CapEx. Last quarter I think you were guiding to about $17 billion of capital expenditure?

Henry Hubble

Yes

Mark Flannery

And the increase there was about Nigerian drilling in some on the Ketchikan minority purchase I think 37:11

Henry Hubble

Yes that’s correct.

Mark Flannery

I know you mentioned it briefly but could you tell us what the increase to $18 billion is about. Is it phasing or is it new activity or cost increase?

Henry Hubble

Well the biggest piece is associated with OBO project execution. And that’s the largest chunk and the other piece is associated with accelerating some Qatar projects, basically our Qatar gas, to train 5 and RasGas train 7, so we are moving those ahead but again the biggest piece is the OBO project execution.

Mark Flannery

And what does that mean, does that mean running overbudget or ?

Henry Hubble

Well it means we’ve had the supplement that CapEx for those projects. And timing the timing of the expenditures.

Mark Flannery

Right. Now I know you, I am going to ask you, but you won’t answer it, but should expect CapEx to be running about this level going forward I mean that was always the understanding I think in the previous guidance.

Henry Hubble

Our past guidance was we were projecting something about 18 billion ‘07 –‘10 we haven’t really updated that at this point and that will reflect you know whatever addition or issues that are coming into this plan.

Mark Flannery

Maybe I’ll just have one more, which is you mentioned on the call continuing the incremental investments in refining capacity additions-

Henry Hubble

Yeah

Mark Flannery

Any thoughts of any more slightly more major projects there, or anything along the lines of you were saying from other companies of some large expansion?

Henry Hubble

Well, I mean it’s interesting, if you look at, we invest if you look at the US as an example $3.5 billion over those last five years. But the real issue is not how much you are investing, it’s what you are getting out of that assessment and our focus is on lower cost kind of bottlenecks and if you look at our performance over a ten year time frame we’ve grown our capacity 2% per year well above the demand rate which has been 1.5% and when you apply it across the kind of capacity that we have that ends up delivering us you know the equivalent of a new refinery every three years. So we see that as a continuing, the way we will continue to invest in a business. You know that not to say there is other parts of the world where you may go with you know where grassroots investments maybe necessary and we have our efforts in Bugan as you know.

Mark Flannery

Great thank you very much.

Operator

We’ll go next to Neil McMahon at Sanford Bernstein.

Neil McMahon

Hi, just again two questions. The first one real on chemicals, I think in the past what we’ve seen is that you’ve really benefited from the integration with the refining assets that you have and the close proximity of your chemical assets. This time it doesn’t seem to have really helped or held up your chemical earnings especially versus some competitors, just wondering if you could walk through some of the issues associated with the chemical earnings in this quarter and why maybe some of those synergies have not come through and then I’ve got a follow-up question.

Henry Hubble

Yeah. Alright. The kind of synergies you are talking about really don’t change in the environment. They continue to benefit us. The issue that we are really have in the chemical side was the short time squeeze associated with margins as feed stocks rose basically we saw a squeeze in the margins. There has been a lot of upward movement in prices, demand is strong our capacity is fully utilized and so you know there is really nothing there that I would point to say hey there is something is changes versus base.

Neil McMahon

Is there any particular region where you noticed this was a particular problem in terms of the feed stock cost running up and not being able to pass that through to the customer?

Henry Hubble

Well, certainly in the US, because of the hurricane impacts, you had capacity down and just as we saw in some of the product run-ups you saw the same thing in the feed stocks so it was particularly acute there. And when you look at the margin squeeze this quarter versus last year third quarter, Intermax has been hit pretty hard and that was one of the big drop offs.

Neil McMahon

I was just wondering if you were seeing anything in Asia at all, or not really

Henry Hubble

Well Asia volumes have been holding up reasonably well, In fact, well and don’t really you have margin pressure though, kind of through out the world.

Neil McMahon

Just a the second question was really on the decline rates and the mature basins, I just wonder as we go through the time if it is a continues thing that we continue to take guidance from your March strategy presentations where you see production growth going on throughout the years, Yet it never seems to quite get there due to various factors that keep happening, such as PSA effects and other events and I'm just wondering how much of the strategy in the upstream division going forward is to do with divestments, because it does seem that you are divesting as a constant rate and I just wonder if that is going to pick up over time so maybe those longer term growth rates need to be somewhat dampened to take into account maybe your active divestment program going forward?

Henry Hubble

Oh, I would, if you, if you look at our, you know, what the impacts have been versus our outlook, the outlook that we put out at the beginning of the year, I mean entitlements clearly have impacted and as we talked earlier, about 1%. But that's a straight reflection of the price increases that we've seen in the marketplace and so nothing it just improves the returns associated with those projects and then the asset sales as we've talked before, in a high-price environment, we're constantly looking at our mature assets and those assets and evaluating how much those assets are worth to us and how much they're worth in the marketplace and so we're constantly testing that and in this environment we've sold some properties and we feel very good about the values that we've achieved. That really is our focus, is trying to get return. Now, how is that going to play out going forward? You have to tell me the price forecast before we can be able to really even guess at that.

Neil McMahon

Well, maybe I could do -- if I have my own price forecast, as everyone else does, if I read into that should if I've got higher oil prices in my forecasting forward than yourselves, should I be fitting in a higher divestment rate than you may have indicated in the past

Henry Hubble

I go with our guidance there I would see it flat from earlier periods

Neil McMahon

Okay the thanks.

Henry Hubble

Alright.

Operator

Next we move to Paul Sankey of Deutsche Bank Securities.

Paul Sankey

Hi good morning Henry.

Henry Hubble

Hi Paul.

Paul Sankey

Henry we’re very worried about windfall tax and what is going on in DC potential in that area, could you remind us as a financial community what your responses to this idea if you like, and any other comments you’d have to make on the subject that perhaps you could be criticized for making too much money in this environment?

Henry Hubble

Well, the thing, when you look at our business you have to think of it over a longer term and if you look at that the current issues that are facing the industry, and what a lot of this seems to be in response to is if any thing, a tightness of supply versus demand. And frankly if you are trying to encourage supply growth it seems odd to put in place disincentives and what we think is the best approach is to let the markets work and we are focused on getting additional supply. I know with the incentives out there others in the industry are going to be focused on getting additional supplies and that has proven to be the most effective way to respond to these things in the past.

Paul Sankey

Sure. Very specifically on U.S downstream, it is noticeable that your CapEx is continuing to fall in that area and remains below DD&A. How would you feel about pressure on you to increase CapEx in the U.S. down streams specifically?

Henry Hubble

Well, I mean we are, as I said where I mentioned earlier we are growing our capacity and we’ll stand on our record there if you look at the capacity growth we’re growing faster then the market demand is grown. You go over a long period of time, we’ve done that. We do it cost effectively and the most efficient way to do it is through capacity creep low cost at bottlenecks, the reliability improvements, all these things applying technology that is how we really deliver that growth, to say you need to invest more to do it, that’s not the answer, you do it as cost effectively as you can.

Paul Sankey

So I understand Henry. To change subject somewhat perhaps related to the declines, the Asian gas looks weak is that primarily Arune related or Bastrate, what is the driver there?

Henry Hubble

As you know those are, it is Arune and that’s mature fields that are in decline and basically no surprises there. And it is consistent with our overall guidance, that we’ve been providing on the portfolio which is about a 4% to 6% decline rate.

Paul Sankey

Is the current rate of change in Asian gas likely to continue in terms of decline or can we expect that to flatten out? Is this is a particularly bad quarter for instance, or is that a trend that we should look for?

Henry Hubble

I don’t really have a forward projection on that, that is mature area, it is going to continue to decline whether the rate of decline is flattening out, I can’t really comment on field by field basis.

Paul Sankey

I guess the dynamic there is that Qatar will replace those volumes going forward?

Henry Hubble

Oh yeah. When you look at I mean look at overall gas business its growing and will grow, in the later part of the decade as we bring all of this Qatar production and all those projects that we’ve got under way

Paul Sankey

Okay Henry, thank you.

Henry Hubble

Thanks

Operator

Next will go to Mark Gilman at Benchmark.

Mark Gilman

Henry Good morning. I had a couple of things, first isn’t it time to perhaps update your corporate guidance a little bit I wonder if you might be so kind as to do that?

Henry Hubble

On?

Mark Gilman

On the corporate segment

Henry Hubble

On the corporate cost?

Mark Gilman

Yeah. I mean the numbers that you used from a guidance standpoint in the past, I mean, I think we could all agree you kind of anachronistic, aren’t they?

Henry Hubble

I wouldn’t use that word but I’d say something about $100 million would be appropriate.

Mark Gilman

$100 million a quarter?

Henry Hubble

Yes

Mark Gilman

Okay. Secondly I thinking a little bit ahead toward, the end of the year trying to conceptually understand and identify potential sources of reserve bookings for 2005. And I was thinking back in terms of the number of project that have been sanctioned over the course of 2005, that could be candidates for booking. And I guess my memory is not serving me all too well because I am not coming up with a long list. Can you perhaps refresh my memory has to recent and in significant project sanctions that could provide a bit of an inventory for year-end ‘05 reserve bookings?

Henry Hubble

Well, overall I just expect from the top, overall we’ve long demonstrated an ability to over 100% versus our production and we don’t see anything that is in the way of doing that for this year and so we are going to update that in the first quarter and you’ll see it at that point in time.

Mark Gilman

Le me try one other one. Was there a big working capital liquidation in the third quarter that contributed to the $15.7 billion cash from operations, I am guessing, it was probably $3.5 billion or more.

Henry Hubble

I mean if you look at, if you look at our cash you are looking of the 16.5? I’m trying to figure out how to come up with that.

Mark Gilman

I am looking at the 15.7 which you reported as net as provided by operations.

Henry Hubble

Yes

Mark Gilman

Okay. Which I assume, includes working capital.

Henry Hubble

Right

Mark Gilman

And the earnings plus DD&A piece of that, can’t be much more than 12, unless I’m missing something.

Henry Hubble

Yeah, I may, well the Gasunie is in those numbers. It was equity restructuring and it is basically distributed through dividends and shows up in that 15.7.

Mark Gilman

Yeah. I’ve already included that that’s in my 12 number.

Henry Hubble

Okay and then you have working capital effects associated with higher crude payables and higher tax accruals, before the earnings and that’s the impacts.

Mark Gilman

Okay I guess for the queue, thanks.

Operator

We’ll go next to Jennifer Rowland with J.P Morgan.

Jennifer Rowland

Thanks. I’ve got two questions first on the Chalmette refinery, you mentioned that restart would be imminent. Just wondering if you can give some more color around that and when you expect to be a full runs there and secondly on the share buybacks should we assume that this quartets pace will continue looking out the next couple of quarters?

Henry Hubble

Well. On the share buyback, we don’t give forward guidance on that but you can look back at our practices, we’ve been more consistent than most in our share buyback and we’re basically that you can use that for kind of guidance and then when you look at the Chalmette refinery, it is going to be phased startup and when I say a imminent, I mean they are in the process of bringing power and boilers up this point and then it will, it will basically phase through but it will take some period of time. But, before the end of year, it’s up full rates and I don’t know really have detailed schedule in terms of when it is anticipated to be up to full rates before that.

Jennifer Rowland

Okay. But you expect it to be a full run by the end of the year.

Henry Hubble

Yes, yeah

Operator

And we will take our next question from John Herrlin, Merrill Lynch.

John Herrlin

Yeah, thank you Henry. Two quick ones with European gas you mentioned, mentioned and demand loss, could you give us a split in terms of the drop sequentially from second quarter?

Henry Hubble

Yeah if you look at the demand side of it, that was the biggest piece and basically it’s about our 3%.

John Herrlin

Okay thanks. Then with the U.S upstream you’ve been doing some more partnering with Independence in North America whether it’s Canada, south Texas, whatever. Should we expect to see more of that.

Henry Hubble

Well. Its we have approached, we’re going to look at how to best develop these resources, and you may be referring to some of the things we’ve done in Pyons and other areas but basically we’re going to look at the especially we will have larger resources like that and look at the areas that we’re going to develop ourselves we’ll farm out, but we’ll have a mix of things and basically doing whatever is makes sense to manage the risk and deliver the best value to the shareholders, so that’s really the focus.

John Herrlin

Henry Hubble

Okay Thank you

Operator

And Mr. Hubble, we have no further question, I will turn the conference back over to you for closing remarks.

Henry Hubble

Let me just say. First I’d like to thank everybody for joining me this morning and before I end the call I’d like to leave you with just a couple of key points. First although the hurricanes created difficult conditions, we’re working hard to support the communities we serve and responded rapidly. We maximized supply to the U.S to minimize the immediate hurricane impacts on our customers and we’re focused on restoring the remaining operations as safely and quickly as possible.

Secondly our upstream projects are being completed without delays and adding the volumes that we expected at costs on budget or below and thirdly our results reflect the same business model and disciplined investment process that we have had and will continue to have for years. We look through volatility of the commodity cycles, we consistently focus on delivering superior results to meet energy challenges of this quarter and beyond. I’d like to thank you for your time.

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