New York-based hedge fund Third Point LLC, which in the past couple of years has scooped up substantial shares in several independent producers, has purchased 2.45 million shares (8.1%) of Houston-based ATP Oil & Gas Corp. Third Point did not report a stake in ATP at year-end 2006.

Third Point's purchase of ATP stock was disclosed in a Schedule 13G filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

ATP's core exploration and production focus is split between the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and the North Sea. The company ended 2006 with record reserves in all categories, an annual production increase of 155% and a reserves replacement ratio of 315%. Year-end 2006 total proved reserves were 637 Bcfe, an increase of 21% (109 Bcfe) over 2005, and proved plus probable (3P) reserves of 1,005 Bcfe, a 32% increase (246 Bcfe). Proved developed reserves grew 67% (85 Bcfe) to 214 Bcfe.

About 47% of ATP's 3P reserves are located in the deepwater GOM, with 10% on the GOM Outer Continental Shelf and 43% in the North Sea.

Third Point CEO Daniel S. Loeb last November purchased a 7.2% stake in Pogo Producing Co., and in December he demanded that Pogo initiate a process to sell the company "in whole or part" (see Daily GPI, Dec. 4, 2006). In its 1Q2007 earnings announcement Tuesday, Pogo said its "strategic alternatives process, which includes the possible sale or merger of Pogo, the sale of its Canadian or other significant assets, and changes to the company's business plan, is ongoing."

In 2005, Third Point acquired an 8.6% stake in Western Gas Resources, becoming its largest shareholder, and it then urged the producer to buy back 10-15% of its shares from the market to increase shareholder value (see Daily GPI, Aug. 19, 2005). Western Gas was acquired last year by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (see Daily GPI, June 26, 2006).

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