Chevron Corp. and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have teamed up to develop remote, ultra-deepwater exploration and production technology. The $5 million Chevron Remote and Ultra-Deepwater Research Program will focus on developing technologies to access hydrocarbons in water depths up to and deeper than 3,000 meters in a safe, cost effective and environmentally friendly manner. The program includes the sponsorship of two named fellowships — the Chevron Energy Fellows — and makes Chevron a sustaining member of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), which was created to address global energy issues. The five-year program also will support MITEI’s energy research seed fund to promote the development of a broad range of novel, innovative energy technologies and concepts across the institute.

Houston-based EV Energy Partners LP (EVEP) has entered into an agreement with an institutional partnership managed by EnerVest, Ltd. to acquire natural gas properties in West Virginia for $59.5 million. “The acquisition of these properties will create excellent synergies with our existing West Virginia assets,” said EVEP CEO John B. Walker. “As with our recently completed acquisitions, these properties fit well with EVEP’s asset base and we expect the acquisition to be accretive to distributable cash flow per unit.” The properties include 543 wells located primarily in Barbour, Harrison and Lewis counties, WV, with estimated proved reserves as of Oct. 1, 2007 of approximately 28 Bcfe. Ninety-nine percent of the proved reserves are proved developed producing and 99.5% are natural gas. EVEP said it will operate 94% of the property value and hold a “high working interest” averaging over 80%. The current net daily production is approximately 4,300 Mcfe. During 2008, the company expects the properties to produce between 3,900 to 4,100 Mcfe/d with lease operating expenses between $1.20 and $1.30/Mcfe. The acquisition, which has been approved by the board of directors, is expected to close around the end of 2007. EVEP said it plans to initially finance the acquisition with borrowings under its credit facility. The company is a master limited partnership engaged in acquiring, producing and developing oil and gas properties.

GlobalSantaFe Corp. and Transocean Inc. have received approval from the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands of the proposed merger of GlobalSantaFe with a subsidiary of Transocean and related transactions (see NGI, July 30). The parties have tentatively scheduled to complete the transactions on Nov. 27, subject to conditions. The proposed merger remains the subject of an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading for the United Kingdom (OFT). The companies said they expect that before Nov. 27 the OFT will announce its decision whether the merger raises competitive issues that could, in the absence of appropriate undertakings by the parties, warrant a reference to the Competition Commission of the United Kingdom for further review.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. has agreed to mitigate damage to about three acres of wetlands that were impacted and pay a $157,500 civil penalty for the destruction of wetlands near the Hams Fork River in Lincoln County, WY, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, found that during construction of two natural gas well pads and associated access roads and connecting pipelines, Anadarko subsidiaries Westport Oil and Gas Co. and Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Onshore LP acted without a permit and placed material into the wetlands, which “adversely altered their functions and values.” The federal Clean Water Act prohibits these types of discharges unless they have been authorized by a Corps permit. As compensatory mitigation for the violations, Anadarko will be required to physically restore 0.85 acres of impacted wetlands and create an additional 4.18 acres of wetlands. Mike Risner, EPA Region 8 Legal Enforcement director, said the environmental impacts cited “could have been avoided if the company had consulted with the Corps prior to commencing its activities.”

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