Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) is selling a package of assets used in Gulf of Mexico offshore operations to a subsidiary of Superior Energy Services Inc. for $55 million. Once the transaction is completed, which is expected by the end of this month, BHI said it would be able to complete its merger with BJ Services' U.S. operations (see Daily GPI, April 29). "While market conditions in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico are extremely uncertain now, the acquisition provides us with an established platform from which we plan to expand these new product and service offerings across Superior's growing international footprint," said CEO David Dunlap. The assets to be acquired include two stimulation vessels (the HR Hughes and Blue Ray) and BJ's sand control completion tools product line, including a tool and screen manufacturing facility and technology center in Houston.

Texas utilities would be required to replace aging steel natural gas pipes that connect consumers to the gas distribution system with plastic pipes under a proposal touted by Railroad Commission of Texas member Michael Williams. The plastic pipes are thought to be safer because steel pipes can corrode and are susceptible to shifting. A replacement project such as the one described by Williams could cost $500 million, according to a report in The Dallas Morning News. It would be the largest pipeline replacement program ever initiated by the commission, Williams said, and it could take a months to enact a rule to set a replacement program in motion.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has launched the Gulf Project, a coalition of energy and environmental scientists, private-sector research scientists and state officials who will work on responses to future energy-related disasters in the Gulf of Mexico. The University of Texas, Texas A&M University, the University of Houston, Rice University, Texas Tech University, Southern Methodist University, the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America, Texas General Land Office and the Railroad Commission of Texas are participating.

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