Arc-AWE merger approved

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, Aug. 12 -- Australia's Federal Court has approved the merger plans of Arc Energy Ltd., Perth, and Australian Worldwide Exploration Ltd. (AWE), Sydney (OGJ, May 19, 2008, p. 33).

The approval paves the way for a spin-off of Arc's Canning basin assets in Western Australia into exploration vehicle Buru Energy Ltd., which is to be chaired by Arc's managing director Eric Streitberg.

Arc shares were suspended after close of trade on the Australian Stock Exchange Aug. 11 pending the merger.

Arc says the merger and the spinoff of Buru are expected to be implemented Aug. 25, with trading in Buru to begin Sept. 1 on the Australian Stock Exchange.

The new Arc-AWE entity will own a 57.5% stake in the producing Cliff Head oil field in the offshore Perth basin of Western Australia as well as a 42.5% interest in the BassGas gas-condensate project in Bass Strait to pipe gas to Victoria (based on Yolla field reserves in Tasmanian waters).

The combined portfolio also will contain AWE's share of Tui oil field off New Zealand, Casino gas field in the Otway basin off western Victoria, and Arc's onshore Perth basin oil and gas fields.

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