COMPANY NEWS: US E&P companies bolstering their portfolios

US-based exploration and production companies are scrambling to acquire more assets to bolster their portfolios amid a robust oil and gas price environment.Among the recent major transactions:The board of Pogo Producing Co., Houston, approved a definitive merger agreement to acquire NORIC Corp.-the parent firm of North Central Oil Corp., Houston-for about $630 million in cash and Pogo common stock.Barrett Resources Corp., Denver, acquired interests in 54,675 acres of coalbed methane (CBM) properties in the Raton basin in southern Colorado for $52.9 million cash. Barrett is purchasing the properties from an affiliate of Kansas City Power & Light Co. (KCP&L).Vaalco Energy Inc., Houston, sig...

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