Finance/Companies news briefs, Aug. 25


Contango Oil & Gas Co. said it has purchased a 10% interest in Republic Exploration LLC for $4 million, with the option to purchase another 23.33% interest for an additional $2.5 million. The option expires Dec. 29, 2000. Republic Exploration has the license rights to existing and newly reprocessed 3-D seismic covering over 8,600 square miles of the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico continental shelf. Republic Exploration has been formed to evaluate, generate, acquire and explore prospects using this seismic data. The other two members of Republic Exploration are both privately held companies with extensive experience in Gulf of Mexico exploration. As part of this transaction, Contango granted 5-year warrants to each company to purchase 125,000 shares of Contango common stock at $1/share.

Roper Industries Inc., Bogart, Ga., said it negotiated a $150 million extension of its long-term supply agreement with RAO Gazprom, the Russian gas utility. Gazprom has agreed to extend the agreement under which Roper supplied it with turbo-machinery controls equipment for the last 5 years. The agreement extends the term through the end of calendar 2007.

Russian company Lukoil said an arbitration court has dismissed tax evasion charges against the company. If the charges had been upheld, the amount assessed against Lukoil, including taxes, penalties, and financial sanctions, would have amounted to 751 million rubles, said the company.

The court case concerning the abrupt termination of a proposed merger between ONEOK Inc., Tulsa, and Southwest Gas Corp. rolls on (OGJ, Jan. 31, 2000, p. 34). ONEOK said Aug. 24 it filed an amended complaint alleging Southwest Gas failed to disclose certain material information during negotiations. In January, Southwest Gas had filed suit claiming breach of contract related to the called-off merger.

Premcor Refining Group Inc., St. Louis, on Thursday agreed to plead guilty to two felony counts, pay a $2 million fine, and be placed on 3 years probation for failing to comply with reporting requirements for wastewater treatment at its refinery near Blue Island, Ill., from 1994 to 1996. The company, formerly known as Clark Refining Holdings Inc., was notified 3 years ago that it and two former employees were suspected of not complying with mandatory, regular reporting of levels of non-hazardous fats, oil, and grease in wastewater, said Premcor. The two former employees also named by the government each left the company voluntarily in 1997.

Greka Energy Corp., New York, said it has closed the sale of its wholly owned Canadian subsidiary, Beaver Lake Resources Corp., thus disposing of all its Canadian oil and gas assets. Greka said the sale allows it to focus on its core assets in California, Louisiana, and China.

Magin Energy Inc., Calgary, has extended its offer to purchase outstanding shares of Place Resources Corp. to Sept. 6, because the minimum conditions of the offer were not met by the expiry date.

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