Finance/Companies news briefs, May 21

Denerco Oil AS has acquired a 50% interest in and the operatorship of German offshore exploration license B20 008/64. Intrepid Energy North Sea Ltd. holds the remaining interest. The license covers 5,776 sq km; it is the largest German offshore license.

Norway's Ministry of Finance said it is considering changing the regulations governing the government's Petroleum Fund, the Norges Bank SA-run bonds and equities tool, so as to ban unethical companies from its investments. The decision would function as "an escape clause that will only be used if the government through an investment by the Petroleum Fund may be in danger of violating its international commitments."

Peru has merged the electricity tariffs commission, CTE, with Osinerg, the entity supervising the energy industry. Osinerg will in future supervise and set tariffs for electricity concessions and the transport of hydrocarbons through pipelines, in addition to its existing commitments.

Peruvian consultancy firm Serpet Consult signed a contract with Perupetro, the state oil agency, on May 14 for a technical study to promote block IX in the Tigre-Napo-Iquitos-Marañon basin with an approximate area of 4.14 million hectares. Serpet has 4 months to complete a technical study, and then begins a 9-month exclusive period to promote the area.

Australian Worldwide Exploration Ltd., Sydney, operator of Yolla and White Ibis gas/condensate fields in the Tasmanian Bass basin, is making a combined share placement and pro rata offering of ordinary shares to partially fund its interest in the development. Both parts of the equity raising of $37 million (Aus.) are fully underwritten by Macquarie Equity Capital Markets Ltd.

National Petrochemical PLC, Thailand's first olefins producer, posted a 28.52% drop in net profit for the first quarter of this year, mainly as the result of the decline in world olefins prices. Net profit of the partly-state-owned concern was 456 million baht ($10 million), or 1.47 baht/share.

Vanco CI-112 Ltd., a subsidiary of Vanco Energy Co., has acquired Xpronet Inc.'s 13.5% interest in Block CI-112 offshore Côte d'Ivoire. The transaction increases the equity interest of Vanco (operator) to 90%, with a 10% interest retained by state-affiliated oil company, PETROCI.

Triumph Energy Corp., Houston, has increased its existing offer to acquire the outstanding shares of Baytex Energy Ltd., Calgary, to $4.17 (Can.)/share from $3.70/share. The offer expires May 29.

Petrosin Group (Pvt.) Ltd. has offered to pay 121 million Pakistani rupees ($2 million) for the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) business of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd. in a bidding round held in August last year, and another 21 million rupees as a goodwill gesture to secure the transaction, sources said.

Russian company Tyumen Oil Co. has engaged Deutsche Bank AG to arrange financing for Tyumen's environmental initiatives. This financing will be used for a variety of projects, including the Samotlor oil field in Western Siberia. The financing package is expected to total at least $250 million.

Paradigm Geophysical Ltd. has completed the takeover of North Sea drilling software specialist Sysdrill Ltd. in a move to marry Paradigm's geoscience information technology with Sysdrill directional drilling software. The value of the acquisition was not disclosed.

Norsk Hydro AS Tuesday awarded a 2-year $110 million maintenance and modification contract to ABB AS, extending a frame agreement between the companies set up in 1994. The M&M deal covers engineering, procurement, fabrication, installation, and assistance during commissioning on the Norwegian oil and gas company's North Sea installations.

A 36 million euro loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is expected to reduce soil and water contamination on Croatia's Adriatic coast. The 10-year loan, guaranteed by the Croatian government, will be used to upgrade existing waste-water treatment, hazardous waste management and treatment facilities at Industrija Nafte Zagreb d.d., Croatia's national oil and gas company.

Cross Timbers Oil Co., Fort Worth, Tex., will change its name to XTO Energy Inc., effective June 1.

Lone Star Technologies Inc., Dallas, Tex. is offering $150 million in senior subordinated notes due 2011. Net proceeds from the offering are expected to be used by Lone Star to repay the debt of its subsidiaries and to provide funds for working capital and other general corporate purposes. Lone Star is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries manufacture and market oilfield casing, tubing, and line pipe and other tubular products and services.

Kinder Morgan Management LLC has increased the size of its initial public offering to 12.6 million shares from 9 million shares.

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