Finance/Companies news briefs

MarkWest Hydrocarbon Inc. � Star Gas Partners LP � Balli Group � Amir Kabir Petrochemical Co. � Velvet Exploration Ltd. � PanAtlas Energy Inc.

MarkWest Hydrocarbon Inc., Denver, entered a two-year marketing agreement to supply propane for Star Gas Partners LP's 17 retail bulk plants in Ohio and Kentucky. Markwest is also leasing storage space in Star's Seymour, Ind., storage facility. Markwest said the agreement will involve about 30 million gal/year of propane sales, primarily from MarkWest's recently expanded Siloam (Kentucky) fractionation facilities. Operations began on May 22.

Iran's first joint venture contract to build a petrochemicals plant at Bandar Imam Khomeini will cost an estimated $140 million, the chairman of the UK-registered Balli Group, Vahid Alaghband, was quoted as saying by Petroleum Argus. Balli was reported two weeks ago to have joined the project with a 60% stake, with National Petroleum Corp. subsidiary Amir Kabir Petrochemical Co. holding the remaining 40% share. The plant, situated in Iran's special economic zone, is expected to come on stream in 2003. It will produce 300,000 tonnes/year of linear low-density polyethylene (OGJ, Feb 14, 2000, p. 34).

Velvet Exploration Ltd., Calgary, is making a $76.2 million (Can.) friendly takeover offer for PanAtlas Energy Inc. The bid includes assumption of $16.9 million in debt. Directors and officers of PanAtlas have agreed to tender their shares. The acquisition would give Velvet a core natural gas area in the Drumheller region of Alberta.

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