Pioneer closes sale of Canadian assets

Jan. 1, 2008
Pioneer Natural Resources has closed the sale of its Canadian subsidiary, Pioneer Natural Resources Canada Inc.

Pioneer closes sale of Canadian assets

Pioneer Natural Resources has closed the sale of its Canadian subsidiary, Pioneer Natural Resources Canada Inc., to Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC for cash proceeds of $540 million. For the fourth quarter of 2007, Pioneer expects to record a gain on the sale in excess of $85 million and to pay little to no income taxes related to the sale. Proceeds, along with amounts expected in connection with the initial public offering of limited partnership interests by its subsidiary, Pioneer Southwest Energy Partners LP, will be used to fund three recently announced acquisitions of oil and gas properties in its onshore US growth areas – a $205 million acquisition of Raton basin coal bed methane properties; a $90 million acquisition of Spraberry oil properties, and a $150 million acquisition of gas properties in the Barnett shale play; and to reduce outstanding indebtedness.

Comstock Resources makes$170M property acquisition

Comstock Resources Inc. has agreed to purchase certain oil and gas properties from SWEPI LP, an affiliate of Shell Exploration & Production for $170.0 million. Comstock will acquire producing properties in the Dinn Ranch, Fandango, Rosita, and Rosita East fields in Duval and Zapata counties in South Texas on 11,500 acres. The properties include 70 producing wells currently producing roughly 21.9 MMcf of natural gas per day. Comstock estimates the properties have net proved reserves of nearly 57.8 bcf of natural gas. Comstock estimates the properties could yield an additional 90 bcf of resources potential from future exploitation. The transaction will be funded with borrowings under Comstock’s $600.0 million bank credit facility. Comstock Resources is a growing independent energy company based in Frisco, Tex. and is engaged in oil and gas acquisitions, exploration, and development primarily in Louisiana and Texas and in the Gulf of Mexico through its ownership in Bois d’Arc Energy Inc.

Petrohawk acquires acreragein heart of Fayetteville shale

Petrohawk Energy Corp. has signed a definitive agreement to purchase strategic assets in the Fayetteville Shale for $343 million in cash from Alta Resources LLC, Contango Oil & Gas Co., and other parties. The assets include over 24,000 net acres with estimated reserve potential of over 500 bcfe, approximately 50% operated, and are located primarily in Van Buren and Conway Counties, Ark. Petrohawk’s total acreage position in the Fayetteville Shale will be roughly 125,000 net acres upon closing. Current net production from the properties is roughly 11 MMcfe/d. The average initial gross production rate for the eight operated wells drilled on the acreage during 2007 is roughly 2 MMcfe/d. Petrohawk estimates proved reserves to be nearly 60 bcfe.

Cubic Energy accelerates drilling, completion program

Cubic Energy will accelerate the new drilling and completion work in its Johnson Branch acreage. Financed through its credit facility with Wells Fargo Energy Capital, Cubic plans to drill four new wells through the Cotton Valley formation in its Johnson Branch acreage, with one well going deeper through the Bossier/Haynesville formation. In addition, Cubic plans to commence completion operations on up to eight wells in its Johnson Branch acreage, all drilled to total depth since the summer. Cubic is finishing its infrastructure in Johnson Branch with nearly 12 miles of gathering lines and pipeline constructed for these completions. Cubic has a 49% working interest in its Johnson Branch acreage.

Key Energy closes $400M credit facility

Key Energy Services closed a new $400 million five–year senior secured revolving credit facility. The facility will be secured by substantially all of the Company’s assets and will be available for acquisitions, share repurchases, letters of credit, and general corporate purposes. The company will be allowed to repurchase its common stock; however, share repurchases in excess of $200 million can be made only if the company’s debt to capitalization ratio is below 50%. Bank of America Securities LLC and Wells Fargo Bank NA served as joint lead arrangers.

Enovation Resources completes financing

Enovation Resources has finalized a $415 million loan agreement with a London–based institutional investor. Diz Mackewn, chief executive of Enovation, said, “As well as assuring our imminent drilling program in the Gulf of Mexico and existing operations in Asia Pacific, the provision of additional funds will now serve to underpin our plans for material growth in the UK Central North Sea through our wholly–owned UK subsidiary, Sussex Energy Limited.” Enovation Resources Ltd. is a technology–focused independent oil and gas exploration and production company. The head office is located in Hamilton, Bermuda, with regional offices in the UK, US, and Singapore.

Providence Resources enters new credit facility

Providence Resources has agreed to a $250 million credit facility with Macquarie Bank Ltd. This will refinance and replace the $50 million revolving line of credit facility agreed between Providence and Macquarie in February 2006. Twenty–five million will be made available at closing to supply general working capital, fund the balance of the Singleton acquisition, and to provide funds to drill and complete wells on existing assets. The remaining $225 million will be made available to fund oil and gas acquisitions, investments, and development opportunities as they arise. The facility has a term of five years to December 2012, replacing the current financing facility, which was due to mature in April 2010.

Sonoran Energy starts rig operations in Louisiana

Sonoran Energy Inc. has begun 24/7 rig operations on its Louisiana properties, marking the beginning of a four to five well program. Sonoran Energy is a US–based independent oil and gas company that explores, develops, and enhances the performance of high value oil and gas opportunities.

Spectraseis secures $32.5M investment from Warburg Pincus

Spectraseis, a provider of low frequency geophysical solutions to the upstream oil and gas industry, has secured a $32.5 million investment from Warburg Pincus, the global private equity firm and energy investor. StatoilHydro Venture Capital will continue to own a stake in the company together with Spectraseis’ management team. Jeffrey Harris, who leads Warburg Pincus’ investment activities in the energy sector, and Henry Makansi, head of Warburg Pincus’ European Energy activities, will be joining Spectraseis’ board of directors.

Hercules Offshore to divest land rig fleet

Hercules Offshore Inc. has entered into agreements with Petrex Sudamerica Sucursal de Venezuela SA and Saipem Perfuracoes e Construcoes Petroliferas Lda. for the sale of its nine land rigs and related assets. The land assets include six land rigs in Venezuela, one in Trinidad, and two in the US. The purchase price is roughly $107 million.

TXCO Resources closes $55M private placement

TXCO Resources Inc. has closed the private placement of preferred stock consisting of 55,000 shares, or $55 million, of its Series C Perpetual Convertible Preferred Stock. Lazard Fréres & Co. LLC served as lead placement agent and BMO Capital Markets Corp. served as co–placement agent. TXCO Resources is an independent oil and gas enterprise with interests in the Maverick basin, the onshore Gulf Coast region, and the Marfa basin of Texas, and the Mid–continent region of western Oklahoma.

Aker Kvaerner signs deal with Aker Oilfield Services

Aker Kvaerner has signed a letter of intent with Aker Oilfield Services to provide equipment and personnel to the world’s first deepwater Subsea Equipment Support Vessel. The contract, to commence latest 2010, is valued at nearly $60 million over an initial five year period. Aker Kvaerner’s subsea business area will develop specially designed installation equipment for subsea trees as well as support tools for subsea interventions. Aker Kvaerner Subsea in Brazil will provide an offshore team to operate and conduct onboard installation and testing operations of subsea trees and associated equipment. Onshore support will be provided from Aker Kvaerner Subsea’s Rio das Ostras base, in Brazil.

Sonoran Energy completes $18 million financing

Sonoran Energy Inc. has concluded an $18 million financing consisting of a $15 million senior secured credit facility from Standard Bank plc and Nordkap Bank AG and a contemporaneous $3 million equity investment from executive management, board members, and existing and new investors. This round of financing replaces an existing credit facility of $7 million and will provide funding for Sonoran’s ongoing development programs in Louisiana and West Texas. Sonoran Energy has immediate access to $12 million of this three–year debt facility, with an additional $3 million as more of the company’s proved reserves are brought into production. Sonoran Energy is a US–based independent oil and gas company that explores, develops, and enhances the performance of high value oil and gas opportunities.

Paradigm, Chevron ink software deal

Paradigm, a provider of enterprise software solutions to the oil and natural gas exploration and production industry, and Chevron Corp. have reached an agreement for the Paradigm Interpretation and Modeling software solutions to integrate with Chevron’s proprietary E&P systems. The multi–year, multi–million–dollar agreement encompasses the deployment of Paradigm’s next generation interpretation and reservoir modeling technologies and associated services. Paradigm will partner with Chevron Energy Technology Co. to implement the solution worldwide as well as to provide further technology development to support Chevron’s specific E&P goals. Chevron has also reached a multi–year agreement with Paradigm to extend its long–standing use of Paradigm’s Geolog software, the industry reference for petrophysical data interpretation and analysis.

Talisman Energy sells Beatrice assets to Ithaca

Talisman Energy Ltd. and Talisman North Sea Ltd., both wholly–owned subsidiaries of Talisman Energy Inc., have agreed to sell the Beatrice oil field and transfer operatorship of the Nigg oil terminal to Ithaca Energy Ltd., a wholly–owned subsidiary of Ithaca Energy Inc. The sale is expected to complete later in 2008. It is expected that the current workforce will be retained by Ithaca. The sale does not include Talisman’s interest in the Beatrice Wind Farm Demonstrator Project, a joint venture between Talisman and Scottish and Southern Energy. Talisman Energy took over from BP as operator of the Beatrice field and Nigg oil terminal in 1997. The Beatrice field is located nearly 76 miles North West of Aberdeen. Talisman Energy Inc. is an independent upstream oil and gas company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Acergy wins $670M West Africa work contract

Acergy has been awarded a roughly $670 million contract for the engineering, procurement, fabrication, and installation of an export line, rigid in–field pipelines, riser, manifolds and control umbilicals offshore Angola in water depths from 20 to 1,200 meters. Offshore installation is scheduled to commence in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Enerplus, Focus merge

Enerplus Resources and Focus Energy are to merge. Upon completion, Enerplus unitholders will own roughly 79% and Focus unitholders will own roughly 21% of the combined trust. The combined company will retain the Enerplus name and continue to be listed on both the TSX and the NYSE. Enerplus’ asset base will provide Focus unitholders with exposure to a larger, more diversified portfolio of long–life producing assets in Canada and the US. Focus is contributing two high quality, operated natural gas properties – Shackleton and Tommy Lakes. Focus is also contributing six minor properties with roughly 3,400 boe/d of production in the areas of: Red Earth, Pouce Coupe/Progress, Mantario/Marengo, Hatton/Medicine Hat, Sylvan Lake, and Cabin/Kotcho. Gordon Kerr, president and CEO of Enerplus and the current Enerplus executive team will continue in their current roles. A significant number of the Focus staff will be offered positions in the combined trust; however the Focus senior executives are expected to join Enerplus for a transition period only. David O’Brien and Clayton Woitas, current members of the Focus board will accept positions on the Enerplus board.

Sprint Industrial Holdings sold to First Atlantic Capital

Edgeview Partners, a CIT company, has sold Houston–based Sprint Industrial Holdings, a provider of integrated storage and safety solutions to the energy and industrial markets in the Gulf Coast, to a group of investors led by New York City–based First Atlantic Capital Ltd. Edgeview served as the exclusive financial advisor to Sprint in the transaction. CIT Sponsor Finance served as sole lead arranger and sole bookrunner for $128 million in senior secured credit facilities. Sprint’s top managers, including president and CEO Jake Davis, COO Chris Swinbank, and CFO Brian Bourque, will remain with the firm under the new ownership structure. Edgeview Partners is an investment bank focused on the middle market. First Atlantic Capital Ltd. is a private equity investment firm. EVP Securities LLC, an affiliate of Edgeview Partners, served as the exclusive financial advisor.

Gulfport Energy acquires Permian basin assets

Gulfport Energy has signed an agreement to acquire an approximate 50% working interest in assets in West Texas in the Permian basin for roughly $85 million. The assets include 4,100 acres with current production of nearly 800 net boe/d from 32 gross wells, predominately from the Wolfcamp formation. Existing production is roughly 64% oil, 23% natural gas liquids, and 13% natural gas. The other 50% working interest is being acquired by Windsor Permian LLC, an affiliated company controlled by Wexford Capital LLC. The selling properties are operated by Midland, Tex.–based ExL Petroleum LP. Gulfport expects to fund the acquisition with equity and debt financing.

Superior Offshore secures $80 million loan commitment

Superior Offshore International has received an $80 million, 5–year term loan commitment from AIG Equipment Finance Co. This new facility will replace the existing $55 million term loan with Fortis Capital Corp. and will have an interest rate of LIBOR plus 400 basis points, with a scheduled rate reduction upon the delivery of the Superior Achiever. Funds are expected to assist with the company’s DP–III vessel, Superior Achiever.

Connacher closes $600M financing package; secures new revolving credit facility

Connacher Oil and Gas has completed and closed the sale of $600 million face value of 10.25% senior secured notes, at a price of 98.657%, resulting in a yield to maturity of 10.50% and gross proceeds of nearly $592 million. The Notes were resold through Credit Suisse, RBC Capital Markets, and BNP Paribas as joint book running managers and Fortis Securities, HSBC and TD Securities as co–managers. A portion of the proceeds will be used to discharge Connacher’s outstanding debt (C$180 million) and to fund a one–year debt service reserve account (C$64 million). The balance of C$327 million will be available to fund the construction of the company’s second 10,000 b/d Algar Project, Algar or Pod Two, at Connacher’s Great Divide holdings. Connacher also secured a new five–year term revolving credit facility with RBC Capital Markets, BNP Paribas (Canada), and Credit Suisse, Toronto Branch as co–lead arrangers and including a syndicate of banks and financial institutions including affiliates of the aforementioned co–managers and Alberta Treasury Branches, Export Development Canada, and Union Bank of California, Canada Branch. The facility is comprised of a C$150 million tranche and a US$50 million tranche, with the latter for use in the company’s refining and marketing operations in Great Falls, Mont. Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have rated the notes as B1 and BB, respectively. Moody’s also affirmed its rating of the company as B1, while S&P increased its rating of the company from B+ to BB–.

Encore engages gas storage project with Star Energy

EnCore Oil has entered into additional agreements with Star Energy Group, providing for future management of the gas storage project, and varying the terms of the existing farm–out agreements already in place with Star Energy. Star Energy will hold 50% in the decommissioned gas fields, Esmond and Gordon, in the North Sea, and will assume operatorship of both fields. EnCore will retain a 75% interest in the Forbes field and license, and the conditions in respect of Star Energy’s option to acquire an interest in Gordon have been relaxed to enable this option to be exercised immediately. EnCore is pursuing alternative options for the use of the decommissioned Forbes field located on southern North Sea block 43/8. The company intends to demerge its gas storage business into a separately quoted company with an anticipated completion date before the end of the first quarter of 2008.

Prosafe confirms intention to split

Prosafe SE has decided to commence a process splitting Prosafe into two focused, listed companies. One company will be a focused accommodation and service rig company, and the other a focused floating production company. The split process, including listing of the two entities, is expected to be completed during 2nd quarter 2008. Arne Austreid will be the CEO of the accommodation and service rig company, while Bjorn Henriksen will assume the role as CEO of the floating production company.