Finance/Companies news briefs, Mar. 8

Transocean Sedco Forex � Prism Gas Systems � McLeod Gas Gathering & Processing � Louisiana Western Gas Gathering � Fletcher Challenge Energy � Apache � Shell Overseas Holdings � Abraxas Petroleum � CIBC World Markets � Grey Wolf Exploration � Anadarko Petroleum � Cal Dive International � Horizon Offshore � Crown Central Petroleum � and more

Transocean Sedco Forex Inc., Houston, said its wholly owned indirect subsidiary R&B Falcon Corp. has begun a tender offer for the outstanding 11 3/8% senior secured notes due 2009 of its affiliate RBF Finance Co.

Prism Gas Systems Inc., Bedford, Tex., acquired McLeod Gas Gathering & Processing LLC from Louisiana Western Gas Gathering Co. LLC for an undisclosed amount. McLeod owns and operates the McLeod gas processing plant in Cass County, Tex., and the McLeod and Mooringsport gas gathering systems in Cass and Marion counties in Texas and in Caddo Parish in Louisiana.

Shareholders of New Zealand company Fletcher Challenge Energy Ltd. approved the acquisition of FCE by Apache Corp. and Shell Overseas Holdings Ltd. as proposed last year (OGJ Online, Oct. 10, 2000). A judge last week rejected a request from a consortium headed by Calgary-based Penn West Petroleum Ltd. to delay the vote so the consortium could prepare its own bid for FCE (OGJ Online, Mar. 1, 2001).

Abraxas Petroleum Corp. retained CIBC World Markets Corp. as a financial advisor regarding its proposed stock-for-stock acquisition of the 51% of Grey Wolf Exploration Inc. it does not already own.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. sold 20-year, zero coupon convertible debentures that will result in gross proceeds $600 million. The proceeds from the debentures will be used initially to finance costs associated with the previously announced acquisition of Berkley Petroleum Corp. and to pay down long-term debt, said Anadarko.

Cal Dive International Inc. and Horizon Offshore Inc. announced that their alliance agreement covering operations on the US outer continental shelf has been extended 3 years. As part of the alliance, CDI provides dive support vessel services behind Horizon pipelay barges while Horizon supplies pipelay and derrick barge services to Cal Dive.

Crown Central Petroleum Corp. said Mar. 7 its merger with Rosemore Inc. was completed. Crown is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Rosemore.

China National Offshore Oil Corp. is seeking expressions of interest to help prevent marine growth on proposed platforms in the South China Sea. The deadline is Mar. 14.

Statoil has renewed a frame agreement with Solberg & Andersen, part of Bj�rge Gruppen, for the maintenance of the 250,000 valves on all Statoil-operated onshore and offshore facilities. The 7-year extension is worth 200 million Norwegian kroner including options.

Cal Dive International Inc. acquired substantially all the assets of Professional Divers of New Orleans Inc. and offered employment to all its offshore personnel. PDNO's operations will be combined with those of Cal Dive's subsidiary Aquatica Inc.

Southward Energy Ltd., together with its wholly-owned subsidiary 896543 Alberta Ltd., said 92% of Benson Petroleum Ltd.'s shares were tendered pursuant to its offer of Jan. 16. In order to acquire the remaining shares, Southward has extended the expiry time of the offer to Mar. 19.

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