Finance/Companies news briefs, Aug. 16

CMS Energy�Marathon Ashland Petroleum�TEPPCO Partners�Centennial Pipeline�Michael Petroleum�MPAC Energy�Wayland Investment Fund�Tracer Petroleum�Kuwait Petroleum International Co.

CMS Energy Corp., Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC, and TEPPCO Partners LP have signed definitive agreements to create Centennial Pipeline LLC. The companies had announced a preliminary agreement Mar. 9. Centennial Pipeline will own and operate an interstate refined petroleum products pipeline extending from the US Gulf Coast to Illinois (OGJ, Apr. 3, 2000, p. 24). Each of the companies will own a one-third interest in Centennial Pipeline. The project, involving the building of a 70-mile spur and the conversion of a gas pipeline to a product pipeline, is expected to be completed by the end of 2001.

Houston-based Michael Petroleum Corp. said Monday it has emerged from bankruptcy. Michael Petroleum had filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code in December 1999. Under the plan, approved July 27, Michael Petroleum has been recapitalized with a combination of bank debt and private equity totaling $107 million. The company also has a new ownership group led by MPAC Energy LLC and the Wayland Investment Fund. MPAC will own more than 95% of the reorganized company. Michael Petroleum also has entered into a new $75 million credit facility provided by four banks. Glenn Hart, CEO of Michael Petroleum, said the company would now accelerate its drilling program and pursue acquisition opportunities in the Lobo Wilcox Trend in Webb and Zapata counties in South Texas.

Tracer Petroleum Corp. said it has made considerable progress towards finalizing formal agreements for undertaking crude oil swaps, crude oil trading, and other business undertakings in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Also, Tracer said it has been approached by a crude buyer seeking to purchase up to 3 million bbl per month of Iranian crude oil over a 12-month term.

The state-owned Kuwait Petroleum International Co. plans expansion of its European operations with the help of foreign partners. Tuesday's issue of the Kuwait daily Al Anba reported that KPI's Director of International Operations, Khalid Al Haroon, envisioned expansion in order to generate funds to be used in marketing oil products to 10 European countries, as well as Thailand. KPI owns and manages some 5,600 filling stations in Europe under the "Q8" banner, as well as two refineries with Italian and Dutch partners, and five lubricants plants.

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