Finance/Companies news briefs, July 21

Ramco Energy ... Amerada Hess ... Ranger Oil ... Canadian Natural Resources ... Remington Oil & Gas ... Mustang Engineering ... John Wood Group ... Bouygues Offshore ... China Offshore Oil Engineering . . . Beau Canada Exploration


Ramco Energy PLC, Aberdeen, is selling its 2.0825% interest in the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) field production-sharing agreement off Azerbaijan to Amerada Hess Corp. for $150 million in cash, to be paid in four installments, with interest. Ramco and Amerada Hess also have agreed to enter into a strategic alliance giving Amerada Hess the opportunity to farm into other Ramco projects. Ramco says the sale of ACG confirms its strategy of identifying unique opportunities, building value, and bringing that value forward.

Shareholders of Ranger Oil Ltd., Calgary, have approved a $1.6 billion (Can.) friendly takeover offer by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNR), also of Calgary. CNR said 92% of Ranger shareholders tendered their stock to the bid at $8.25/share (cash), or a maximum of $650 million. Ranger has operations in Western Canada, the UK North Sea, Africa, and the US. CNR is a major independent in Western Canada. CNR is expected to sell some noncore Ranger assets in Western Canada and the Gulf of Mexico to pay down debt. It plans to acquire the outstanding Ranger shares under mandatory acquisition legislation.

Remington Oil & Gas Corp., Dallas, said last week it has agreed to sell its interests in certain nonoperated producing properties in Nueces, Starr, and Victoria counties, Tex., to an undisclosed buyer for $17 million. The sale is expected to close Aug. 1. James A. Watt, president and CEO of Remington, said the sale allows Remington to aggressively pursue more operated opportunities, strengthen its balance sheet, and still deliver a targeted 18-20% increase in production volumes for the year over 1999 levels.

Mustang Engineering Inc., Houston, said it is in final negotiations to sell 80% of the company to John Wood Group PLC, Aberdeen. The remaining 20% will be acquired over 6 years. The Wood Group will have sales in excess of $1 billion this year, while Mustang�s sales will exceed $150 million. The agreement is expected to be signed in the next 2 weeks and will be subject to the approval of Wood Group shareholders and US regulatory approval, said Mustang.

In a move intended to give it a foothold in China and the Asia-Pacific area, Bouygues Offshore SA has signed a cooperation agreement with China Offshore Oil Engineering Co. Ltd. (COOEC) under which both partners will have exclusive use of the capabilities of the other for all projects in China and the Asia-Pacific region. COOEC specializes in engineering, construction, and installation of offshore platforms and pipelines and operates a fully equipped construction yard located in Tanggu on the Bohai Bay coast. Bouygues Offshore, in particular, will be able to use COOEC's derrick lay barge, Lan Tiang DLB 4000, which is under construction, beginning in 2001. So far, the two partners have no specific project in mind.

Beau Canada Exploration Ltd., Calgary, is selling its interest in the Peggo natural gas field in British Columbia to an unnamed buyer for $66.5 million (Can.) to reduce debt. The company will open a data room by the end of July for potential buyers. The Peggo field produces about 20 MMcfd of gas. The sale will leave Beau Canada short of gas to meet contracts for shipment on the Alliance Pipeline from British Columbia to the US Midwest. That pipeline is scheduled to begin operations in November. Beau Canada said the shortfall will cost it about $330,000/month from November until early 2001 when it expects additional gas from new wells.

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