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BG Group Muscles In on Trinidad Gas Play

BG Group plc Thursday fired another warning shot at its North American competition after exercising an option to acquire a bigger stake in a prospective natural gas development offshore Trinidad. BG's offer preempts a $142.5 million cash offer by Centrica plc.

As part of a plan to move out of insolvency, Canadian Superior Energy Inc. last month agreed to sell to Centrica a 45% stake in Block 5(c) offshore Trinidad (see NGI, June 8). Centrica planned to process the output into liquefied natural gas (LNG) to supply North American and UK customers.

However, the block is operated by BG, and it holds a 30% stake as well as first rights to take additional interest.

"Given our existing, well established position within the East Coast Marine Area it makes perfect sense to increase our interest in these discoveries so close to existing infrastructure," BG stated.

The UK-based company already is one of North America's top LNG suppliers. Last week it alsot staked a claim in North America's onshore gas shale plays in a $1.3 billion deal that gives it a half-stake in EXCO Resources Inc.'s holdings in Louisiana's Haynesville Shale and the Deep Bossier Sands of East Texas (see related story).

BG this year plans to expand its gas development projects in Trinidad and Tobago, officials said.

"The initial exploration drilling program on Block 5c has produced three successes: Victory, Bounty and Endeavour," officials said. "We are now keen to fully appraise the potential of this block."

Challenger Energy, which holds a 25% interest in the Trinidad project, and Canadian Superior, said earlier this year they planned to sell part of their interests in the venture. The Calgary-based explorers agreed last month to merge (see NGI, June 22).

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