Industry Briefs

Mexico's state-run oil and gas company on Thursday called for its first exploration and production bids using multiple service contracts (MSCs), which will allow private companies to invest in an ambitious plan to increase country's sagging natural gas production. Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) on Thursday called for bids on the 10- to 20-year MSCs, which will allow private companies to explore for natural gas in the Burgos Basin, located in the northeast part of Mexico. The contracts were finalized earlier this year (see Daily GPI, Feb. 19 ), and companies have been given access to basin information. With the MSCs, Mexico will own the property and will remain over the domain of the hydrocarbons, controlling exploration and production. The contractor will receive a fee for the works performed and services rendered. The first round of bids will be tendered on seven blocks. Pemex called for bids on four blocks on Thursday, and three more blocks will be announced within the next two weeks, Pemex said. Overall, the seven blocks cover a 13,300 square kilometer area, and their initial proved and probable reserves are estimated at 800 Bcf. For more information, visit www.pemex.gob.mx.

Junior independent Imperial Petroleum Inc. has signed a definitive agreement with Hillside Oil & Gas LLC to acquire its Texas, New Mexico and Louisiana oil and gas assets for approximately $5.88 million. Imperial, headquartered in Evansville, IN, will retire Hillside's bank debt and pay off its accounts payable at closing as well as provide one million shares of restricted stock. "Hillside operates most of the 150 wells it owns an interest in and generally owns a 100% working interest," said Jeffrey T. Wilson, Imperial's president. Hillside is headquartered in Midland, TX. In May, Imperial established a presence in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming with its acquisition of 63.3% of the capital stock of Powder River Basin Gas Corp. in exchange for 2.65 million shares of the its common stock and a note payable for $200,000. The diversified energy and mineral mining company explores for oil and gas as well as minerals, with a particular emphasis on gold mining. Imperial does not operate any active oil and natural gas properties directly, although it remains a significant shareholder of Warrior Resources Inc. (formerly Comanche Energy Inc.), which does operate in the oil and natural gas business. The company also is operator of the Duke Gold Mine in Utah.

Northern Border Pipeline Co. said last week that it has made further progress in recontracting and has now nearly sold out the long-haul firm capacity on its 2.4 Bcf/d pipeline system. The additional capacity commitments are at the maximum transportation rates with terms of one to two years. "We are very pleased to have essentially sold out this capacity," said Bill Cordes, chairman of the Northern Border Pipeline Management Committee. "We began the year with about 40% (about 1 Bcf/d) of our capacity expiring prior to Nov. 1 of this year and, currently, less than 1% remains available. Recontracting this capacity at maximum rates reaffirms the value of holding space on our pipeline." Northern Border also announced that Cargill Inc. has finalized the assignment of all of the firm transportation capacity formerly held by Mirant Americas Energy Marketing, LP, which is approximately 10% of the pipeline's firm capacity and extends for terms into 2006 and 2008. Additionally, Cargill assumed the management services of Pan-Alberta Gas, Ltd. previously performed by Mirant.

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