Finance/Companies news briefs, Sept. 18

BP � Vastar Resources � Sui Southern Gas � Pakistan Petroleum � Petroleum Exploration � Pyramid Energy Canada � Pakistani Government Holdings � Metiom � BHP � Chicago Mercantile Exchange � CheMatch.com � Penn Virginia � Waterous & Co. ... TotalFinaElf ... Agip ... Avia ... Dynelf ... EuroGas ... Teton Petroleum ... Duke Energy Gas Transmission ... Market Hub Partners ... NiSource


BP on Friday announced completion of the purchase of the interests of Vastar Resources Inc, Houston, that it did not already own. Vastar's shareholders agreed to accept BP's offer of $83/share for the 18.2% of the company that BP did not receive when it acquired ARCO. The cost of this purchase is about $1.5 billion, said BP.

Pakistan's state-owned Sui Southern Gas Co. (SSGC) signed a gas price and sales agreement with the working interest owners of Block 22. Under the agreement, the owners will supply 20 MMcfd of gas to SSGC, according to an official statement issued late last week. Pakistan Petroleum Ltd., Petroleum Exploration (Pvt.) Ltd., Pyramid Energy Inc. unit Pyramid Energy Canada, and Pakistani Government Holdings are the working interest owners the block, situated in the districts of Shikarpur, Jacobabad, and Sukkur in Sindh province and Nasirabad in Balochistan. Gas supply to SSGC is expected to start in November. Arrangements are being made to install and commission an MDEA gas purification plant, a glycol dehydration plant, and a 13 km, 6-in. pipeline.

Australia's Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd. has formed an alliance with Metiom Inc., New York, under which Metiom will provide BHP's e-procurement services to smaller enterprises, said Metiom. As part of the agreement, Metiom will also acquire BHP's L-Trans supply logistics management system. According to Metiom officials, BHP will take an undisclosed equity position in Metiom in the form of common stock and cashless options. The companies will comarket L-Trans, a BHP-developed, internet-based logistics management system. According to the agreement, Metiom will continue to invest in the development of L-Trans, extending its function into other industries and applications. BHP will retain the right to use L-Trans.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange and CheMatch.com Inc. have signed an exclusive agreement to jointly develop and market a cobranded complex of certain chemical futures and options products that will trade on CME's electronic trading system. CME said the agreement marks its entry into the business-to-business (B2B) arena and represents the first joint development project between a futures exchange and a B2B marketplace to create risk-management products targeted to a specific industry.

Penn Virginia Corp. has retained Waterous & Co. to assist with the potential sale of a portion of its Appalachia oil and gas properties. The properties have an estimated 70 bcfe of proved reserves, which comprise 97% natural gas. Current net production from the properties is 7 MMcfd. A data room to review detailed property information is expected to open in Houston later this month.

The European Union Commission has rejected the list of 70 companies TotalFina SA had selected to take over the retail service stations it was forced to divest following its merger with Elf Aquitaine. European Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said the chosen buyers were "not capable of an aggressive pricing policy and of maintaining the competition needed on France's highway network." TotalFina had reportedly given preference to Italy's Agip SPA, which already has service stations in southeastern France, and to French independents Avia and Dynelf. Understandably, it had not included France's two major super market chains, Carrefour and Leclerc, which are stiff competitors of the oil majors. TotalFina has a few days to submit its response to the commission, failing which the commission's rejection will be final.

EuroGas Inc. and Teton Petroleum Co. are continuing to discuss a merger. Under the terms of a confidential revised standstill agreement, the original merger agreement of Apr. 6, 2000, has been cancelled, and both companies have until Nov. 1 to agree to a new deal. In the event that the parties are unable to agree on a merger, EuroGas will receive a break-up fee in the form of Teton common shares. Teton management has been presented with an updated merger proposal, which it is considering, says EuroGas. The terms of the proposal are confidential. Both companies have worked vigorously to meet due-diligence requirements for the transaction. EuroGas said high oil prices have played a role in delaying an agreement between the firms.

Duke Energy Gas Transmission (DEGT) has acquired the natural gas salt cavern storage business commonly known as Market Hub Partners (MHP) from subsidiaries of NiSource Inc. for $250 million in cash plus the assumption of $150 million in debt. The deal was announced last month (OGJ Online, Sept. 4, 2000). This new line of business for DEGT has 23 bcf of storage capacity with significant expansion capability. MHP's Moss Bluff storage facility in Liberty County, Tex., and Egan storage facility in Acadia Parish, La., are active, while natural gas storage projects in Mississippi and Pennsylvania are under development. MHP was a subsidiary of EnergyUSA, a wholly owned subsidiary of NiSource.

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