Thursday, April 15, 2010

Apache Makes Second Energy Deal; Gulf of Mexico.

The independent energy company Apache announced Thursday that it would buy rival Mariner Energy for $2.7 billion, its second acquisition this week.

The deal would continue Apache’s strategy of trying to extend into deepwater projects in the Gulf of Mexico. Besides the Gulf and the Gulf Coast, Mariner’s properties include onshore sites in the Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico.

On Monday, Apache said that it would acquire Devon Energy’s oil and gas assets in the Gulf of Mexico for $1.05 billion, an amount that is about $250 million more than some analysts had expected.

Under Thursday’s deal, Mariner shareholders will receive 0.17043 of a share of Apache common stock and $7.80 in cash for each outstanding share of Mariner’s stock. Apache also will assume $1.2 billion in debt.

“Mariner provides an exciting new platform for growth in the deepwater and complements our strengths in the Gulf Shelf and the Permian Basin. Based on our experience working with the Mariner team, we also believe the two companies will make an excellent cultural fit.” the chief executive and chairman, G. Steven Farris, said in a statement.

“We have considered extending our Gulf of Mexico operations into the deepwater for a number of years,” Mr. Farris said. “This is the right set of assets and the right time for Apache to expand its deepwater presence.”

According the Apache statement, Mariner produces about 63,000 barrels of oil a day. Its proven reserves were estimated at the equivalent 181 million barrels of oil, 47 percent of it oil or other hydrocarbon liquids, at year end.

The sale of Devon’s remaining assets in the Gulf of Mexico curbed speculation of further Chinese expansion in the region. In December, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, acquired a small stake in four oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico from Statoil of Norway.

Instead of expanding in the Gulf, the Chinese agreed to their largest energy deal ever earlier on Monday. ConocoPhillips announced that it was selling its 9 percent stake in Syncrude Canada to Sinopec, Asia’s largest refiner, for $4.65 billion, giving the Chinese a strong foothold in the Canadian oil sands.

Devon decided in November to sell its offshore and international oil and gas assets to focus on its less-expensive businesses in the United States and Canada. Last month, Devon sold some of its offshore properties in Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico and Azerbaijan to BP for $7 billion in cash.

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