Finance/Companies news briefs, May 9

Repsol-YPF SA ... Empresa Nacional del Petroleo ... El Paso Energy Corp. � Hanwha Energy Co. Ltd. � Korea Electric Power Corp. � Hunt Oil Co. � Anderson Exploration Ltd. � Ulster Petroleums Ltd.

Repsol-YPF SA and the Chilean state-owned company Empresa Nacional del Petroleo (ENAP) on Monday said they signed an agreement to form a joint venture involving upstream and downstream assets in Latin America. Under the agreement, the firms will collaborate in exploration and production activities in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Venezuela, and in refining and marketing activities in Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Ecuador. Repsol and ENAP own production assets in adjacent areas of Argentina, Chile, and other regions of Latin America. The companies also have a commercial relationship in several business areas, and joint activities in production and the transportation of oil and petroleum products. The announcement follows a similar one between Repsol-YPF and Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

London-based Aquila Energy Ltd., a services subsidiary of UtiliCorp Ltd., has acquired The Gas Co. The Gas Co. is the trading name of Saracen Gas Ltd., also based in the UK. Aquila Energy said the acquisition is part of its growth strategy and will support its planned entry into the UK electricity market this fall. Aquila Energy and The Gas Co. will serve their existing customers with no change in existing business arrangements.

Houston-based El Paso Energy Corp. Monday announced that its El Paso Energy International business unit would acquire, through a joint venture, a 50% interest in Hanwha Energy. Co. Ltd., South Korea. The company is making a $100 million equity investment in Hanwha in exchange for receiving the interest. El Paso has other projects in East Asia, but the Hanwha investment marks El Paso's first venture in South Korea. Hanwha owns and operates a 1,800-Mw power generation facility in Inchon, South Korea, which has been operating since 1995. The plant has 12 combined-cycle gas turbines that operate on imported LNG under a fuel supply contract with Korea Gas Corp. The power generated by the plant is sold to Korea Electric Power Corp. under a long-term contract.

Hunt Oil Co., Dallas, Tx., has dropped its hostile bid for Ulster Petroleums Ltd., Calgary. Anderson Exploration Ltd., Calgary, made a higher offer for Ulster. Anderson bid $970.4 million (Can.) for Ulster, and the Hunt offer was about 20% less. Ulster produced 143 MMcfd of natural gas in the first quarter and 5,840 b/d of crude oil. Hunt said it will either tender its 9.9% interest in Ulster to Anderson or sell its shares on the open market.

More in LNG