Finance/Companies news briefs, Feb. 28

GreyStar � AMEC Offshore � King Resources � Nescor Energy Salsich Gabon � Barrington Petroleum � Alberta Energy Co. Ltd. � Devon Energy � Ramco Energy � Noble Drilling � Maurer Engineering � Aspen Group Resources � Regent Group � Vulcan Minerals & Energy � Southward Energy � Benson Petroleum � and more


GreyStar Corp., Houston, and AMEC Offshore created a joint venture offering outsourcing services for offshore deepwater projects ranging from front-end engineering to operation and maintenance. The joint venture will focus on the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Rim region of Africa, and South America. GreyStar has Gulf of Mexico operating experience, while AMEC has experience with North Sea floating production facilities.

King Resources Inc., Gulfport, Miss., has agreed to acquire 100% interest in Nescor Energy Salsich Gabon Ltd., operator of a production-sharing contract in Gabon, West Africa. Potential reserves are estimated at more than 1 billion bbl of oil. Development drilling will begin by midyear once a drilling rig and other equipment arrives. Existing nearby production facilities and pipelines will enable oil sales to begin soon after the wells are drilled.

Barrington Petroleum Ltd., Calgary, has executed a letter of intent to sell its Cold Lake First Nation heavy oil property for $20 million. The buyer�s identity was not disclosed, but closing is slated for mid-March. The offer for the property arose from PriceWaterhouseCoopers Inc.�s attempt to sell Sunoma Energy Corp.�s 97% interest in Barrington. PriceWaterhouseCoopers has not yet accepted any proposals for Sunoma�s stake in Barrington. Proceeds from the Cold Lake First Nation sale will be used to reduce Barrington's senior debt and debt owing to Sunoma.

Alberta Energy Co. Ltd. (AEC) has notified the Toronto Stock Exchange that it may purchase up to 7.48 million, or 5%, of its outstanding common shares. The purchase may begin Mar. 1 and will end by Feb. 28, 2002. Meanwhile, AEC said its common shares are trading at near-record-low multiples of cash flow despite record-high production volumes, commodity prices, cash flow, and earnings. In the last year, AEC has bought 276,000 shares of its common stock at an average of $40.27/share. The shares purchased were cancelled.

Devon Energy Corp., Oklahoma City, Okla., enlarged its ownership interest in Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli oil fields (ACG) in the Caspian Sea, off Azerbaijan. Devon acquired an additional 0.8% interest from Ramco Energy PLC for $58.3 million. The acquisition increases Devon's ACG interest in ACG from 4.8% to 5.6%.

Noble Drilling Corp. has acquired Maurer Engineering Inc., Houston. Maurer designs drilling products and drilling related software. Noble will retain all employees and merge the group with its subsidiary Noble Engineering & Development Ltd.

Aspen Group Resources Corp., Oklahoma City, Okla., said its common stock is now listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Aspen will delist its common shares from the Canadian Venture Exchange.

Regent Group Inc., Rye, NY, said Vulcan Minerals & Energy Inc. (formerly Playa Minerals & Energy Inc.) exercised its right to terminate a Mar. 31, 2000, merger agreement. Vulcan gave Regent Group no reason for the termination.

Southward Energy Ltd., Calgary, has amended its offer to acquire Benson Petroleum Ltd. Southward increased the cash offer to $3.05 (Can.)/share from $2.65. Southward extended the offer to Mar. 5, unless withdrawn or extended.

ATP Oil & Gas Corp. acquired three Gulf of Mexico producing properties, all located in less than 100 ft of water on the Outer Continental Shelf. ATP paid less than 60�/Mcf equivalent for the proven reserves. Other terms were not disclosed.

Cordillera Energy Partners LLC, Denver, Colo., has completed the acquisition of Greystone Energy Inc. and a merger with MBOE Oil & Gas LP. The Greystone properties consist of 161 wells (98% operated) in the San Juan basin of New Mexico with net daily production of 5.5 MMcfd. The MBOE properties consist of 228 wells (40% operated) in western and Central Oklahoma and the Permian basin of Texas and New Mexico with net daily production of 3.7 MMcfd and 300 b/d.

Oil States International Inc., Houston, closed its initial public offering of 10 million shares on Feb. 14 at $9/share. Net proceeds were used primarily to retire outstanding preferred stock, subordinated indebtedness, and bank debt. Merrill Lynch & Co. was the book-running lead manager for the offering.

SCF Partners Inc.'s investment fund SCF IV LP, bought 2 million shares of Bonus Resource Services Corp. from a private company. The purchase increased SCF's holdings in Bonus to 17.8 million shares, or 17% of issued and outstanding shares. SCF also holds 2 million share purchase warrants which, when combined with all other dilutive elements, increase SCF's holding in Bonus to 18% on a fully diluted basis.

Alto Technology Resources Inc., Houston, opened an office in Caracas with the launch of a comprehensive project for Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA). The project combines a technology transfer training program for PDVSA personnel and an airborne hyperspectral remote sensing study of Venezuela. Alto will provide a 3-month technology transfer training program for PDVSA personnel at Alto Technology's Houston office, Stanford University, and Alto's Caracas office.

Seacor Smit Inc., Houston, completed the acquisition of Gilbert Cheramie Boats Inc. and related companies for $62 million. Gilbert Cheramie Boats, Golden Meadow, La., operates an offshore supply vessel, 14 mini-supply vessels, and eight utility vessels.

Mitchell Energy & Development Corp., The Woodlands, Tex., added net 530 bcf equivalent of natural gas to its reserve base and finished 2000 with 1.5 tcf equivalent of gas reserves, of which 95% is gas. The record level of gas equivalent reserves stemmed from success in Newark East Barnett shale field. The company�s reserve numbers are expected to increase again by mid-2001, said George P. Mitchell, chairman and CEO.

Quicksilver Resources Inc., Fort Worth, Tex., said its total proved oil and gas reserves as of Dec. 31, 2000, were 580 bcf of gas and 14.9 million bbl of oil or 669.2 bcf equivalent. This marked a 131% increase over total proved oil and gas reserves as of Dec. 31, 1999, of 289.7 bcf equivalent. Gas reserves accounted for 87% of total proved reserves at the end of 2000.

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