Finance/Companies news briefs, Nov. 16

Esso � Heerema Tonsberg � Honeywell � Playa � Marathon Oil � Nexen � Plains Resources � KeySpan � Eastern Enterprises � EnergyNorth � Empire Energy � Commonwealth Energy � Westcoast Energy � AEC Oil & Gas � Gulf Canada Resources � Crestar Energy � Petro-Canada � Landmark Graphics � Brashear Group � GEOCAN Energy � Heerema Holding Construction � INTEC Engineering � Omega Natchiq � Texaco Lubricants � Distributeur D'Accessoires Distac � El Paso Europe

ExxonMobil Corp. affiliate Esso, though its contractor Heerema Tonsberg AS, has awarded a $2.5 million contract for control and monitoring of the Ringhorne field operations in the North Sea to Honeywell International Inc.'s Industrial Control business. The Ringhorne platform is on the Norwegian shelf 160 km off the Norwegian coast, 9 km from Balder field.

Playa Minerals & Energy Inc. has bought interests in six Gulf of Mexico leases off Louisiana from Marathon Oil Co. for $15 million plus security for plugging and abandonment liability of up to $5 million. The leases are West Delta Blocks 79, 80, 85, and 86 and Vermilion Blocks 313 and 331.

Nexen Inc., formerly Canadian Occidental Petroleum Ltd., has moved its US listing to the New York Stock Exchange from the American Stock Exchange.

Plains Resources Inc. has doubled the number of shares it is willing to repurchase to 2 million shares. So far, Plains has repurchased 875,000 shares.

KeySpan Corp., New York, said it would become the largest natural gas distribution company in the Northeast by acquiring Eastern Enterprises of Weston, Mass., and EnergyNorth Inc. of Manchester, NH for $2.5 billion, including $1.96 billion in equity and the assumption of $550 million in debt. The acquisition was announced last year (OGJ, Nov. 15, 1999, p. 34). The acquisition increases the customer base of KeySpan's regulated utilities from 1.6 to 2.4 million. KeySpan now has assets of more than $10 billion and projected revenues of $5 billion/year, resulting primarily from the consolidation of six utilities in New York and New England.

Empire Energy Corp., Overland Park, Kan., has reached an agreement to acquire Commonwealth Energy Corp.�an exploration and production company with operations in Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Alberta�in a stock-swap worth $11 million. Terms of the proposed transaction call for Empire to exchange 1 share for each 6 Commonwealth shares. The acquisition is subject to execution of definitive agreements as well as Commonwealth shareholders and judicial approvals. Closing is expected to occur in 2001.

Canada�s National Energy Board will hold a written public hearing on an application by Westcoast Energy Inc., Vancouver, BC, to buy and operate a 42-mile, 12-in. pipeline in the Maxhamish area of northeastern British Columbia.The line is owned by AEC Oil & Gas Ltd., Calgary, which completed it in 1999 to transport dehydrated hydrocarbon liquids. Westcoast plans to use the facility as a sour raw gas transmission line. Intervenors must file with the board by Dec. 5, 2000.

Gulf Canada Resources Ltd., Calgary, reports a 139% increase in third quarter profits over the same period last year to $43 million (Can.) and a 51% increase in cash flow to $264 million. Crestar Energy Inc., in its final reporting period, said third quarter profits were $81.6 million and cash flow more than doubled to $201.8 million. Gulf completed a $2.3 billion takeover of Crestar Nov. 6. The takeover increases Gulf production 59% to 278,000 b/oed and ranks it in the top five among Canadian independents in terms of production.

Petro-Canada, Calgary, has cut greenhouse gas emissions in 1999 to 4% below 1990 levels, despite a 39% increase in production. The company said as part of a voluntary program it has reduced emissions through gas flaring and minor emissions from valves and other equipment. Actions in 1999 cut more than 36,000 tonnes from ongoing greenhouse emissions and saved 700,000 gigajoules of energy. In total since 1990, Petro-Canada said initiatives have eliminated more than 1.3 million tonnes/year of greenhouse emissions�equivalent to emissions from more than 160,000 cars.

Landmark Graphics Corp., a wholly owned business unit of Halliburton Co., said it and The Brashear Group, a consulting firm, will join forces to offer a reservoir-based asset and portfolio management solution for the exploration and production industry.

GEOCAN Energy Inc. will sell its producing, non-operated natural gas assets in the Judy Creek Area of Alberta to an undisclosed buyer for $655,350 (Can.). GEOCAN will use the funds to reduce the balance on its line of credit.

Heerema Holding Construction Inc., the holding company for the Heerema Group, has agreed to acquire INTEC Engineering. Financial terms were not disclosed. The transaction should close by year's end.

Omega Service Industries, a subsidiary of Natchiq Inc., has changed its name to Omega Natchiq to better reflect the role it is playing in its parent company's global expansion plans.

Texaco Lubricants Co., a division of Texaco Products Inc., has acquired Distributeur D'Accessoires Distac, an independent lubricant company based in Montreal, Que. The acquisition was effective Nov. 1. Terms were not disclosed.

El Paso Europe Ltd., a unit of El Paso Energy Corp., has begun trading natural gas from its offices in London. The company expects to begin trading both gas and electricity in the first quarter of 2001.

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