Finance/Companies news briefs, Oct. 12

Infinity � Transocean Sedco Forex � R&B Falcon � Global Marine � Fred Olsen Energy � Ivanhoe Energy � Compagnie Generale de Geophysique � Paradigm Geophysica � Place Resources � Star Oil & Gas � Ensign Drilling � Pirate Drilling � Williams � TransCanada Pipelines � Trinidad Drilling � Petrochem UK � Minerals Revenue Management � Stabil Drill � Drilling Logistics � Lukoil � Crown Central Petroleum � Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical, and Energy Workers International Union

Infinity Inc., Chanute, Kan., said it has acquired interests in an additional 2,400 acres of coalbed methane property in its Pipeline project in the Greater Green River Basin in Wyoming. Jeffrey L. Dale, vice-president of exploration/development at Infinity, said, "We have chosen the name 'Pipeline' for this project because the property is located near several interstate gas pipelines." Infinity will have an average 85% net revenue interest and a 100% working interest in the additional 2,400 acres in the Pipeline project, which increase Infinity's acreage in the project by 16%. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The company expects to complete several wells before the end of the year, and says gas sales will commence before the end of its current fiscal year.

US Department of Justice officials have requested additional information from both Transocean Sedco Forex Inc. and R&B Falcon Corp. in their pending merger, company officials reported Friday. That second request "was not expected, but it's not a surprise," said a spokesman for Transocean Sedco Forex. Requests for additional information is not unusual during Justice Department analysis of proposed mergers. "We are cooperating fully with them," the spokesman said. Transocean Sedco Forex announced in August a definitive agreement to acquire R&B Falcon through a stock-swap with a total value of $8.8 billion. That deal would make the drilling contractor the third biggest oil field service company in the world. It is still expected to close during the first quarter of 2001, without delay, said the company spokesman.

A high court in London has granted Global Marine Inc. leave to appeal an arbitral tribunal's decision that it must pay $31 million to Harland & Wolff shipyard for the delivery of its drillship Glomar Jack Ryan, said Fred Olsen Energy ASA, owner of the shipyard. The appeal may be heard by the end of October, said Fred Olsen.

Ivanhoe Energy Inc. is undertaking a $25 million private placement of five million units at US$5.00 per unit. After completion of this private placement, funds managed by Capital Research & Management will own 11 million shares of Ivanhoe Energy, representing approximately 8.7% of the company's shares. The proceeds will primarily be used to fund Ivanhoe's investment in Syntroleum Corp.'s $600 million Sweetwater gas-to-liquids project under development in Western Australia.

Compagnie Generale de Geophysique said it has completed the merger of its Flagship division into Paradigm Geophysical Ltd. for $4 million in cash and 1.5 million shares of Paradigm. The agreement was announced in July (OGJ Online, July 25, 2000).

Place Resources Corp., Calgary, has agreed to a $45 million (Can.) takeover offer by Star Oil & Gas Ltd. Star is a Calgary-based unit of United Co., of Bristol, Va. Star will pay $3 per share for 15.05 million Place Resources shares, a 43% premium over recent trading values.

Ensign Resource Service Group Inc. said its wholly owned subsidiary, Ensign Drilling Inc., has completed the acquisition of the drilling assets of Pirate Drilling Ltd., a private contractor based in Kindersley, Sask. The assets of Pirate consist of five drilling rigs and related drilling equipment inventories. The purchase price, which was not disclosed, was funded from existing working capital.

A unit of Williams' energy services business Wednesday closed the $540 million purchase of the natural gas liquids portion of TransCanada Pipelines Ltd.'s midstream operations, Williams reported. The agreement was originally announced in August (OGJ Online, Aug. 3, 2000). The purchase includes about 6 bcf/day of gas processing capacity, around 225,000 b/d of NGL production capacity, an NGL pipeline system, and more than 5 million bbl of NGL storage capacity. It also includes TransCanada's interests in the Cochrane, Redwater, Empress II, Empress V, and Younger NGL and extraction facilities, as well as the West Stoddart natural gas processing plant.

Trinidad Drilling Ltd., Calgary, said it has completed its initial public offering of 4 million shares for aggregate gross proceeds to Trinidad of $10 million. The shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Petrochem UK Ltd. agreed to purchase Carless Refining & Marketing Ltd., a UK company that produces and distributes solvents and special products, from Repsol-YPF SA for an undisclosed price. Subject to legal approvals and due diligence, the deal should close within 5 weeks. CRM owns a refinery in Harwich and terminals in Longport and Accrington.

The US Minerals Management Service's Royalty Management Program has been renamed Minerals Revenue Management and restructured into two basic processes: asset management and financial management and compliance.

Stabil Drill, a unit of Superior Energy Services Inc., has acquired Drilling Logistics Inc. Stabil Drill said the acquisition is its eighth in 5 years and will add to its inventory of stabilizers, nonmagnetic drill collars, and subs.

Russian company Lukoil and the governor of the Moscow region Boris Gromov signed a general cooperation agreement Monday. The parties agreed to develop cooperation in the area of fuel and energy and other sectors of the region's economy and coordinate their efforts in implementing investment and financial projects. The parties also reached an agreement to jointly develop regional projects, including those related to petroleum product supplies to local enterprises. Under this agreement, the Moscow region administration will assist Lukoil with allocation of plots for construction of retail outlets and oil storage facilities. While designing, constructing and servicing these sites, LUKOIL will mostly interact with enterprises and companies of the Moscow region, thus contributing to development of infrastructure of towns and districts of the Moscow region.

Crown Central Petroleum Corp. and the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical, and Energy Workers International Union (PACE) released a joint statement announcing that they had reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement. The statement said that PACE would end its "corporate campaign" against Crown, end all boycott activities, and resolve all litigation. Crown will end the 4 1/2-year lockout at its Pasadena, Tex., refinery. The agreement is subject to local ratification and other formalities.

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