Industry Briefs

Dec. 6, 1999
Iran's National Petrochemical Co. and Elenac GMBH, Kehl, Germany, signed a letter of intent to jointly build and operate a 300,000 tonne/year low-density polyethylene plant at an olefins complex to be built at Bandar Imam, Iran (OGJ, Aug. 16, 1999, p. 61).


Iran's National Petrochemical Co.
and Elenac GMBH, Kehl, Germany, signed a letter of intent to jointly build and operate a 300,000 tonne/year low-density polyethylene plant at an olefins complex to be built at Bandar Imam, Iran (OGJ, Aug. 16, 1999, p. 61). Elenac will provide its high-pressure tubular reactor technology. The plant will be owned 55% by Elenac-a 50-50 joint venture of BASF AG and Shell Chemical-and 45% by NPC. Start-up is slated for 2003.

Gas distribution

Potomac Capital Investment Corp.
(PCI), an unregulated unit of Potomac Electric Power Co., Washington, DC, acquired 17 natural gas transmission and distribution networks from four Dutch municipality-owned businesses for $525 million. PCI will buy the assets and lease them back to the municipalities for about 25 years.


BP Amoco PLC
and Shell Deepwater Development Inc. began oil and gas production from the Marlin tension-leg platform on Viosca Knoll Block 915 in the Gulf of Mexico (OGJ, May 3, 1999, p. 89). The TLP lies 125 miles southeast of New Orleans in 3,240 ft of water. Early production is from the first of five planned wells. Once the remaining four wells are brought on line during first quarter 2000, production is expected to reach 40,000 b/d of oil and 250 MMcfd of gas. Marlin partners BP Amoco (75%) and Shell (25%) expect to recover 100 million boe over the field's life.

Hungary's MOL Rt. inked a deal Nov. 20 with Russian oil firm Yukos for joint development of a 175 million bbl oil field in the Khanty-Mansiysk autonomous region of Western Siberia, near Nefteyugansk (OGJ, Nov. 1, 1999, p. 47). Supported by existing pipeline access, the pilot development project has a budget of $8.5 million. MOL will register a regional unit to act as operator; a production-sharing agreement is to be signed by yearend 2000. The firms are equal partners in the venture.

Petroleos Mexicanos
let an $18 million contract to Halliburton de Mexico SA de CV for well stimulation services using the Cape Hawke vessel. Cape Hawke will provide acid and non-acid stimulation, frac-acid, nitrogen, and pumping services in the Bay of Campeche throughout 2000.

Kuwait Foreign

Petroleum Exploration Co.
(KUFPEC) signed a memorandum of understanding with Indonesian state firm Perta- mina for the renewal of an oil exploration contract on Ceram Island, Indonesia. KUFPEC is to start development of Oseil oil field early next year, with production slated to begin in 2001. The field has reserves of 40 million bbl. KUFPEC said the contract renewal entails revised conditions but did not elaborate.

Enterprise Oil PLC,
London, and Brazilian partner Odebrecht Ltda. signed an agreement to acquire from Petroleo Brasileiro SA a farmout on Bijupir


ATAM Elektrik Sanayi ve Ticaret AS,
Istanbul, plans to build a $194 million, 206-Mw natural gas-fired power plant at Zonguldak, Turkey. The project, to be codeveloped by ATAM and GE Power Systems, is slated to begin commercial operations in fourth quarter 2002. In addition to supplying the power generation equipment and technical advisory services for the plant, GE Power Systems also will serve as the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor along with Italy's Technip.


Three contract workers
were killed and another injured Nov. 21 when a storage tank they were cleaning at Chinese Petroleum Corp.'s Ta-Lin refinery exploded. The explosion and resulting fire seriously damaged the 34,000-kl. tank, but CPC says operations at the 300,000 b/d refinery were unaffected. Cigarettes and a lighter were discovered near the bodies, according to the company. Its work policies strictly forbid taking cigarettes or cellular telephones into tanks to be cleaned, but contract workers frequently smuggle the banned items into the work area anyway, says CPC. CPC is studying the feasibility of an $82 million normal paraffin plant. If it decides to go ahead with the project, the 130,000 tonne/ year plant could come on stream in 4 years. Ho Tung Chemical Corp. is Taiwan's only normal paraffin producer, turning out 90,000 tonnes/year.

Texaco Ltd.
selected the technologies of Catalytic Distillation Technologies (CDTECH), Pasadena, Tex., for its 200,000 b/d Pembroke, UK, refinery. Texaco will use CDTECH's CDHydro and CDHDS technologies to treat naphtha from a 90,000 b/d fluid catalytic cracker at the West Wales refinery. The desulfurized FCC naphthas will be used to make low-sulfur gasoline for sale in European markets. CDTECH is a partnership of ABB Lummus Global and Chemical Research & Licensing Co.


Alberta Energy and Utilities Board
(AEUB) will look into whether 61 older sour gas plants must be upgraded to reduce sulfur emissions. The plants, started up before 1988, are exempt from the stringent control requirements placed on newer ones. AEUB established a committee of industry and technical experts and environmental group representatives to study the issue, with a scope to include refineries and heavy oil upgraders. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) pegs upgrading capital costs at $450 million (Can.) and operating costs at $60 million/year. Based on 1998 data, lifting exemptions would reduce emissions by 91 tonnes/day, or about 32% of total sour gas plant emissions, says AEUB.


Burlington Resources Inc.'s
(BR) planned acquisition from ARCO of Villano field on Ecuador's Block 10 was halted when Agip SPA-ARCO's partner in the field-exercised its preemptive right to acquire ARCO's interest in the service contract for the block (OGJ, Nov. 1, 1999, p. 46). Agip will increase to 100% its 40% working interest in the field. BR intends to continue with plans to acquire and explore Block 24 in Ecuador, Block 64 in Peru, and the Los Galeneos and La Fragata blocks in Colombia, it said. However, ARCO's Peruvian partners, YPF SA and Occidental Petroleum Corp., have preemptive rights on the Block 64 acquisition.

Two major shareholders of
Cultus Petroleum NL, Sydney, accepted a revised takeover offer from Austrian bidder OMV AG (OGJ, June 28, 1999, p. 32). The two shareholders-New Zealand merchant bank Fay Richwhite and local institution Portfolio Partners-accepted the revised offer of 84¢/share and the removal of all conditions from the bid, which will deliver 31.3% of Cultus to OMV. The new bid values Cultus at $182 million (Aus.). Starting with this first move into Australia, OMV plans to create a much larger presence there, it said.

Beta Oil & Gas Inc.,
Newport Beach, Calif., signed an agreement to acquire Red River Energy Inc., Tulsa, for $23.5 million, which will include $7.6 million in assumed debt and issuance of 2.25 million shares of Beta common stock. Red River assets include estimated proved reserves totaling 22.5 bcf of natural gas and 504,000 bbl of oil, with a net present value of $23.5 million. Red River will become Beta Operating Co. and will manage the acquisition, production, and operation of oil and gas properties for Beta.

Australia Worldwide Exploration Ltd.
(AWE) acquired the Australian assets of Premier Oil PLC. AWE will issue its own shares and convertible notes in return for Premier's exploration interests in the Carnarvon, Perth, and Bass basins. AWE gains 1,000 boe/d of production, plus proven and probable reserves of 40 million boe. The net result for Premier will be to hold a 23.65% interest in AWE, and Premier's executive director, Steve Lowden, will join the AWE board. The acquisition follows AWE's recent takeover of Omega Oil NL, Perth.

Flowserve Corp.,
Dallas, signed a definitive agreement to acquire Innovative Valve Technologies Inc. for about $100 million. Flowserve will issue a cash tender offer of $1.62/share for the outstanding 9.7 million shares of Invatec common stock and will assume $84 million in Invatec projected debt and related obligations, plus certain transaction-related expenses.

Royal Dutch/Shell
will sell 60% of its interest in Bukat Block off East Kalimantan, Indonesia, to three firms: ARCO (37.5%), Lasmo PLC (12.5%), and Unocal Corp. (10%). Shell will retain a 40% interest in the block. The partners plan to shoot a 2D seismic survey over a 2,000-km area of the block.

Alberta Energy Co. unit
AEC International (AECI) and two Perth-based explorers, West Oil NL and Norwest Energy NL, signed an agreement to acquire a farmout on Permit AC/P22 in the Timor Sea. The partners are to drill the Puffin 5 appraisal on the permit during March 2000. AC/P22 is in the Vulcan sub-basin of the offshore Bonaparte basin. Puffin 5 is to be drilled on the Puffin 1 updip prospect, which has 75 million bbl of postulated reserves, say the firms. AECI will earn 60% of the permit and become operator; Norwest and West Oil will each retain 20% of the permit.


began using a new pricing formula for its oil in December in an effort to make the commodity more competitive, says state oil company Petroecuador. The new pricing method is based on the US benchmark crude West Texas Intermediate, minus $3.52/bbl, which is a change from the old formula of WTI minus $3.04.


Canada's National Energy Board
approved a $92.7 million (Can.) natural gas lateral pipeline by Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline LP. The 16-in. St. John, NB, lateral will extend 63 miles from a mainline near Big Kedron Lake, NB, to St. John (see related story, p. 40). About 5 miles of 4-in. pipe will be laid from a point on the lateral to the Lake Utopia area. An in service date of Nov. 1, 2000, is anticipated.


Pakistan Oil & Gas Development Co. Ltd.
made an oil and gas discovery in Kohat, North West Frontier province, on the Shak- ardarra exploration license, which covers 943 sq km in Punjab and North West Frontier. Chanda 1 was drilled to 4,850 m TD and flowed 1,223 b/d of 41° gravity oil and 5.19 MMcfd of gas through a 1/2-in. choke with 1,550 psi flowing wellhead pressure.

Santos Ltd.
found an extension to Meranji gas field in South Australia's Cooper-Eromanga basin. Appraisal well Meranji East 1, the second drilled on PPL 35, cut 15 m of gas pay in Permian mid-Patchawarra. The well, cased and suspended as a future gas producer after reaching 3,018 m TD, is expected to flow 2-4 MMcfd when brought on stream in first quarter 2000. The well is 1.5 km east of the main Meranji field. PPL 35 interests are: operator Santos, 59.75%; Delhi Petroleum Pty. Ltd., 20.21%; Boral Energy Resources Ltd., 13.19%; Novus Australia Resources Ltd., 4.75%; and Cultus Petroleum NL, 2.1%.

Energy marketing

Enron Corp.,
Houston, signed a definitive agreement to acquire the wholesale energy trading operations of Columbia Energy Services (CES), Houston. The sales price was less than $40 million, says Enron. The transaction includes gas storage inventory and most contracts for gas, power, storage, transportation, and asset management. Enron will become primary wholesale provider to CES's retail operations and the primary buyer of Columbia Natural Resources' Appalachian production into early 2001.

Gas marketing

Phillips Oil Co. Australia Ltd.
and Epic Energy Ltd. formed an alliance for transportation of natural gas from Bayu-Undan fields in the Timor Gap area between Australia and Indonesia (OGJ, Nov. 8, 1999, p. 34). One option is to bring gas ashore at Darwin and ship it through new pipeline links to Mount Isa, Queensland, by connecting with Epic's Southeast Queensland pipeline at Ballera. Another is to send gas to Alice Springs, linking to Moomba, South Australia, via a new line that could connect with Epic's Moomba-to-Adelaide line. Landing gas at Darwin for use in the Australian grid could be a major competitor for the Chevron Asiatic Pty. Ltd.-led group that plans to bring gas from Papua New Guinea to Queensland.


CMS Energy
plans to purchase seven shipments of LNG-totaling 500,000 tonnes-in 2000 from Qatargas in a spot sale from the state firm's production surplus. No value for the deal was disclosed. The transaction marks the third of its kind for the Dearborn, Mich.-based company since 1998. Qatargas says it will still have an LNG surplus of about 2 million tonnes in 2000, increasing to 3.4 million tonnes by 2005.

Continue Reading