Finance/Companies news briefs, Aug. 27

Canadian 88 ... Canadian Superior Energy ... Royal Dutch/Shell Group ... India's state-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corp ... Equistar Chemicals ... Fairchild International ... Canadian Imperial Venture ... Command Drilling ... South Texas Drilling & Exploration ... and more

Canadian 88 Energy Corp. and Canadian Superior Energy Inc. settled all litigation between them, as have Canadian 88 and former executive Greg Noval. Canadian 88 and Canadian Superior also agreed to terminate an agreement under which Canadian 88 granted to Canadian Superior a right of first refusal on any farmout of Canadian 88's undeveloped lands in Western Canada. That agreement would have expired Dec. 31. The arrangements complete the full separation of Canadian 88 and Canadian Superior.

Royal Dutch/Shell Group said all hostages were freed and no one was hurt during this weekend's occupation of the Trident 8 drilling rig off Nigeria by militant local youth.

India's state-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corp. is to be divided into 17 virtual strategic business units that will operate independently. The restructuring process is based on suggestions made by international management consultants McKinsey & Co. in 1998. The 17 units are ONGC's three prized offshore assets -- the Bombay High, Neelam, and Bassein oil fields -- along with seven onshore fields and seven exploration areas.

Equistar Chemicals LP completed debt financing of $1.5 billion. Lyondell Chemical Co., Millennium Chemicals Inc. and Occidental Petroleum Corp. own Equistar.

Fairchild International Corp., Vancouver, acquired an additional 1.85% net revenue interest in the California Coalinga Nose project Block A from Brothers Oil & Gas and Dasher Energy Corp. for $50,000. The deal brings its holding to 5% working interest and a 3.7% net revenue interest. The NRI in Block B is increased to 1.875%.

Canadian Imperial Venture Corp., St. John's, Newf., completed a brokered private placement with Jennings Capital Inc. for gross proceeds of $4.8 million (Can.).

Command Drilling Corp., Calgary, established a committee to consider long-term strategic direction for the company. It will consider succession planning, acquisitions, mergers, partnerships, joint ventures, and divestiture. "We have reached sufficient size and scope during our first very successful year as a public company that the Board feels Command needs a more formal approach to charting our future," said Robert Bruce, president and CEO.

South Texas Drilling & Exploration Inc., San Antonio, changed its name to Pioneer Drilling Co. Michael E. Little, South Texas Drilling's chairman and CEO said, "Since acquiring Pioneer Drilling in August 2000, we have been conducting our operations through our operating subsidiary, Pioneer Drilling, and our customers have come to know us by that name."

Westport Resources Corp., Denver, completed the $866 million acquisition of Belco Oil & Gas Corp., New York (OGJ Online, June 11, 2001).

French company Geoservices SA said it made two acquisitions during the last two months: a well intervention company in Italy and a field surveillance operation in Argentina. Purchase price was not disclosed. The company said the deals will increase the company's annual revenue in these business segments by more than 15%.

Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corp., a unit of Williams Cos. Inc., Tulsa, plans a private placement worth $300 million. It will use the money to refinance existing debt, to fund capital expenditures, and for other general corporate purposes.

The Camisea development consortiums led by Argentina's Pluspetrol and by Argentina's TecGas delivered environmental impact assessments Aug. 17. The Peruvian energy and mines ministry expects to hold a public hearing on the EIAs in the contract area by mid-September and hopes to have these approved before the end of the year.

Gwich'in Development Corp. and Ensign Drilling Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Ensign Resource Service Group Inc., Calgary, formed Gwich'in Ensign Oilfield Services Inc. to provide oil and natural gas drilling and other oil field services in the Gwich'in settlement area of the Northwest Territories. The 22,422 sq km settlement area is in the Mackenzie Delta. GEOS is owned 51% by Gwich'in Development and 49% by the Ensign Group.

Amerada Hess Corp. completed the $3.2 billion acquisition of Triton Energy Ltd., Dallas (OGJ Online, July 10, 2001).

Americomm Resources Corp. merged with recently acquired subsidiary Empire Petroleum Corp. (OGJ Online, June 1, 2001). Americomm changed its name to Empire Petroleum Corp.

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