Finance/Companies news briefs, Sept. 13


Precision Drilling Corp., Calgary, Canada's largest driller, will take over CenAlta Energy Services Inc. in a $220 million (Can.) share-swap deal described as "friendly." Precision will also assume $50 million in CenAlta debt. The deal will increase Precision's fleet of service rigs, in addition to its drilling rigs, to 260 units. CenAlta has 166 service rigs and 9 drilling rigs. Precision has been expanding rapidly with a number of acquisitions, including the $317 million takeover of Plains Energy Services Ltd. in June (OGJ Online, July 11, 2000).

Bonus Resource Services Corp., an operator of mainly service rigs, will acquire Tetonka Drilling Inc. Tetonka owns 24 drilling rigs and has 2 under construction. The share exchange deal is worth about $162 million (Can.). Bonus will also assume Tetonka net debt of $25 million. Bonus investors will own 55% of the new company and Tetonka shareholders, 45%.

Novus Petroleum Ltd., Sydney, issued an unsolicited detailed merger proposal to Petroz NL, Brisbane, Sept. 12. The Novus offer would allow Petroz shareholders to exchange 4.5 Petroz shares for one Novus share. On Sept. 14, Petroz is due to have considered a proposal from Fletcher Challenge Energy Ltd., a unit of New Zealand company Fletcher Challenge Ltd., to acquire 33.37% of Petroz. Now Petroz has put off the Sept. 14 meeting, and directors of Petroz will meet as soon as possible to consider the Novus proposal. Royal Dutch/Shell Group recently offered to acquire Fletcher Challenge Energy for $2.3 billion (Aus.) (OGJ Online, Aug. 28, 2000).

Norway's Northern Offshore ASA said Sept. 8 that, as part of its recent corporate reorganization, it is acquiring from its wholly owned subsidiary Helm Maritime Corp., a private Liberian company: 70 million common shares, or 74.4%, of issued or outstanding common shares in Yukon-based Naftex Energy Corp.; and 42,687,098 common shares, or 62.92%, of the issued and outstanding common shares in Petrolex Energy Corp., also based in Yukon.

ABB Group said Wednesday it agreed to acquire Cellier Group SA, a unit of France's Groupe ICBT. Cellier is a process automation company based in Aix-les-Bains that designs and installs complete production units and industrial process and control systems for the oil, chemicals, lubricants, paper, and paint industries. Cellier also delivers software that allows control systems made by different companies to communicate easily with one another. ABB said the acquisition will be integrated within its automation segment.

Adams Resources & Energy Inc., Houston, has expanded its natural gas marketing operation through the formation of New England Energy Group. Chairman and Pres. K.S. Adams Jr. said, "This expansion is the natural complement to our existing natural gas wholesale supply and distribution business. We have now vertically integrated our marketing of natural gas from production along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana to the end-user in New England.''

Dalton Resources Ltd., Calgary, said that, on Sept. 8, shareholders approved its amalgamation with Tiverton Petroleums Ltd. The effective date of the amalgamation is Oct. 1, with the physical combination of the two companies to begin the last week of September.

Promax Energy Inc., Calgary, says it intends to proceed with a flow-through common share private placement to raise up to $3,000,000 (Can.) by issuing up to 5,172,413 common shares in the capital of the corporation. The offering will be sold to qualified purchasers residing in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. The offering is expected to close Sept. 30.

Greentree Gas & Oil Ltd., London, Ont., has completed the acquisition of an oil property west of Rodney, Ont., known as Rodney Unit 3, from Shiningbank Energy Ltd., Calgary. The oil property is less than 1 km northeast of Greentree's recently discovered Rodney South pool. Rodney Unit 3 is currently producing 25 b/d of oil, which Greentree says may be increased with further drilling.

AEC Oil & Gas, a unit of Calgary-based Alberta Energy Co. Ltd. has agreed to purchase all of Calgary-based Westminster Resources Ltd.'s Canadian oil and gas assets for $62.7 million (Can.) in cash. Closing is expected Oct. 19. Completion of the sale is subject to regulatory approvals and to receipt of Westminster shareholder approval. Westminster has scheduled a shareholder meeting for Oct. 16.

Sunoco Inc., Philadelphia, said Sept. 13 that high crude costs and oversupplied lubricant markets contributed to plans to sell a significant portion of its lubricant assets. The branded marketing assets offered for sale include the Kendall motor oil brand plus the customer lists for both the Sunoco and Kendall brand labels; the lubricants blending plant in Tulsa; and the Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, refinery. Sunoco will continue to operate its Tulsa refinery to make the current slate of fuels and base oil products that are sold into process oils, wholesale base oil, and wax markets. Sunoco expects to record a charge to write down the assets to net realizable value in its third quarter results.

NAL Oil & Gas Trust, Calgary, said it will sell shares to raise $38.3 million (Can.) to repay outstanding debt, including that assumed with the Draig Energy Ltd. acquisition (OGJ Online, May 30, 2000), and for other corporate purposes. The offering is subject to normal regulatory approval and is expected to close Oct. 2.

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