Finance/Companies news briefs, July 5

Meota Resources � Merit Energy � Gas Authority of India � Shell International Gas � Indian Oil Corp. � Oil & Natural Gas Corp. � Precision Drilling � Pride International � Plains Energy Services � ExxonMobil � South Pacific Petroleum Corp. � Azurix � Baker Hughes Industrial Services � Apache � Collins & Ware

Meota Resources Corp., Calgary, has bought the western Canada oil and gas properties of Merit Energy Ltd. for $57 million (Can.) The assets in southern Alberta and southeast Saskatchewan produce about 1,200 b/d of oil and 11 MMcfd of natural gas. Merit is in receivership.

Gas Authority of India Ltd. and Shell International Gas Ltd. have entered into a strategic tie-up to evaluate and identify areas of interest in the gas sector, including upstream projects, gas imports, and pipeline projects. An agreement in principle to this effect was signed in New Delhi recently.

India's Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment (CCD) has decided Indian Oil Corp., Oil & Natural Gas Corp., and Gas Authority of India Ltd. are to be treated as flagship companies, meaning the government's stake will not be reduced to less than below 51%. This decision goes against the recommendations of the India Hydrocarbon Vision 2025 study, which recommended that the government�s stake in these companies be reduced to 26%. CCD has taken the view that, for strategic reasons, the government should retain control over at least one public sector unit in each of three sectors�upstream, downstream, and natural gas.

ExxonMobil International Holding Inc., Guam Branch, agreed to sell its fuels and LPG marketing assets in Guam to South Pacific Petroleum Corp. The agreement includes the sale of 11 Exxon service stations and the Cabras terminal. ExxonMobil says Mobil service stations on Guam, a US territory, will not be affected. The sale is subject to approval by the US Federal Trade Commission and Guam regulatory bodies.

Azurix Corp., Houston, said Wednesday it has acquired Baker Hughes Industrial Services Inc., an industrial water and wastewater operations and engineering support company primarily serving customers in the refinery and petrochemical market. Azurix says it isn't disclosing the value of the acquisition. BHIS will be renamed Azurix Industrial Operations Corp. and will become part of Azurix Industrials Corp. Azurix is owned by Enron Corp.

Apache Corp., Houston, said Wednesday it has completed its previously announced acquisition of producing properties in the Permian basin and South Texas from Collins & Ware Inc., for $320.3 million. The assets have proved reserves of about 496 bcfe of natural gas, of which one-third is liquid hydrocarbons. Probable reserves are estimated at 151 bcfe. Current net production is approximately 40 MMcfd of gas and 4,000 b/d of liquids. The transaction was effective June 1.

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