Finance/Companies news briefs, July 28

ExxonMobil ... Chevron Products ... CanArgo Energy ... Ninotsminda Oil ... AES Gardabani ... Coastal Petroleum


ExxonMobil Corp. announced it will be offering qualified Exxon and Mobil distributors in selected areas of the US the opportunity to market both Exxon and Mobil gasoline and diesel brands. ExxonMobil's research has shown that, in areas where both Exxon and Mobil now market, customers frequently choose both of these brands. There are no changes in lubricant branded offerings to the Exxon and Mobil lubricant distributors at this time.

Chevron Products Co. announced July 27 the launch of Chevron Energy Solutions, a new unit that will deliver customized, cost-reducing energy solutions to commercial and industrial businesses and institutions in the US. Chevron estimates the US market has a yearly demand for energy services�excluding commodity sales�of more than $100 billion. Chevron Energy Solutions was created through Chevron's purchase of the value-added services business of PG&E Corp.'s retail energy services unit (OGJ Online, June 2, 2000). The purchase was completed July 21.

CanArgo Energy Corp., Calgary, said its wholly owned subsidiary, Ninotsminda Oil Co., has executed a binding participation agreement with AES Corp. unit AES Gardabani. Under the agreement, AES Gardabani will earn a 50% interest in identified prospects at the Cretaceous stratigraphic level by funding a portion of the cost of a three-well exploration program on CanArgo's Ninotsminda license in the Republic of Georgia. CanArgo will spud the first well of this three-well program next week. In case of a successful exploration program, the agreement mandates a long-term gas sales contract to units 9 and 10 of the Gardabani thermal power plant, recently acquired by AES. NOC already has a contract to supply gas to the Gardabani plant from the shallower Middle Eocene reservoir in its producing Ninotsminda field.

Coastal Petroleum Co., a subsidiary of Coastal Caribbean Oils & Minerals, said that the State of Florida has not appealed to the Florida Supreme Court for review of a First District Court of Appeals decisions relating to Coastal Petroleum's leases off Florida. The appeal period has expired, and the court's decisions are now final, said the company. The First District Court had ruled that Florida must pay fair recompense to Coastal Petroleum since the state�s interpretation of its environmental plan precludes Coastal�s drilling of its St. George Island prospect in its 800,000 acre leaseholding along the Gulf Coast. The appeals court had said there was no dispute that Coastal has a viable contract with the state. Phillip W. Ware, Coastal's president, said he was disappointed that the company would not be able to realize what he believed to be the enormous potential of its leases. However, he was pleased the company can now proceed to file its claim in circuit court to recover the value of its property rights.

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