Finance/Companies news briefs, July 2


Smith International Inc., Houston, acquired Star Tool Co., which provides fishing and rental tool services in the US Permian basin market. Financial terms were not disclosed. Star Tool will be integrated into the Smith Services business unit. Smith said the acquired operations generated $17 million in revenue for the fiscal year ended June 30.

The US Federal Trade Commission requested additional information regarding Valero Energy Corp.'s proposed acquisition of Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corp., said Valero. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter, pending expiration of the Hart-Scott-Rodino waiting period, a favorable vote by both Valero and UDS shareholders, and other conditions.

Pan American International Petroleum Corp. and its partners Rio Bravo and Mercantile Oil & Gas, a company registered in the Cayman Islands by Canadian shareholders, signed an agreement with Peruvian state oil agency Perupetro that reduces the royalties the companies pay on incremental production to 15% from 45-60% on existing output. Mercantile operates Block III and Block IV in the north coast Talara basin. Gas production is expected in May 2002; it will go to supply an electric plant 35 km from the fields.

Norwegian company Prosafe ASA renamed Procon Drilling Services AS, its drilling unit, Prosafe Drilling Services AS; Safe Service Ltd. has been renamed Prosafe Offshore Ltd.; and Nortrans Offshore Ltd. has been renamed Prosafe Production Ltd. Prosafe took the steps to strengthen its corporate identity.

Barrington Petroleum Ltd., Calgary, said Friday it is fighting a sour gas flow at Shekilie 5-31-116-10W6M.

Petrobras International Finance Co. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, has priced a $500 million senior note issue. The Notes are scheduled to mature in June 2011; Petrobras priced this transaction at a yield of 9.79%.

Promax Energy Inc., Calgary, said it closed a $55 million (US) credit facility with Shell Capital Inc., Houston.

EXCO Resources Inc., Dallas, closed its rights offering, which resulted in proceeds of $105.1 million in gross proceeds. EXCO applied $97.6 million of the proceeds to pay off bank loans and intends to use the rest for general corporate purposes.

ATP Oil & Gas (UK) Ltd. acquired from BP PLC an 86% interest in Blocks 43/17c, 43/22a, and 43/22c in the southern gas basin of the UK North Sea. Financial terms were not disclosed. ATP said the blocks, in 190 ft of water, contain two gas discoveries. ATP is a wholly owned subsidiary of ATP Oil & Gas Corp., Houston.

PetroChina added Hong Kong & China Gas and a Russia-based consortium comprising PJSC Gazprom and PJSC Stroitransgaz as two independent bidders for an $18 billion natural gas project. PetroChina said it might extend the bid further to companies it didn't pick up in the first shortlist. The project involves gas development at the Tarim basin in northwestern China, building a 4,000-km gas pipeline from Tarim to Shanghai, and gas sales.

Tosco Corp. said it would take a second quarter charge of $10.5 million to cut costs. The move calls for the elimination of 200 positions and the separation of employees from its subsidiary, Tosco Marketing Co. About 90% of those affected work in Tosco Marketing's Tempe office.

Compton Petroleum Corp., Calgary, said it temporarily suspended its normal course issuer bid to purchase up to 5.4 million common shares, because of the issuance of 241,997 common shares to a private oil and gas company as partial consideration for the purchase of certain oil and gas assets in the Brant area of southern Alberta.

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