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Thu 30 Nov 2006 08:00 PM

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Topaz expands fleet with two Caspian

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Dubai-based Topaz Energy and Marine has invested in two new vessels for its offshore fleet through its Azerbaijan subsidiary, BUE Caspian.

Having spent more than US $60 million, BUE’s two new purpose built vessels will begin operations in the Caspian region later this year.

One is the Norwegian-built Platform Supply Vessel (PSV) Citadel, a 72 metre, Dynamic Positioning, multi-purpose Caspian designed vessel with on board facilities for 70 personnel, as well as moon pool diving facilities for sub sea work.

The second vessel is the 60 metre Emergency Response and Rescue Vessel (ERRV) Baki. The company describes the Baki as ‘one of the most technically advanced vessels of its kind in the world’.

“Operating in the epicentre of some of the world’s largest offshore hydrocarbon reverses, we can take advantage of over 30 years’ experience in the industry to capitalise on the growing offshore market,” said Stephen Thomas, CEO of Topaz.

Topaz Energy owns and operates more than 70 offshore support vessels throughout the Middle East, Caspian and south east Asia. It has invested more than US $100 million in new-built craft since the acquisition of BUE Marine in 2005. The company plans to invest a similar amount in 2007.

American Oil and Gas has reported a net loss to stockholders of US $1 203 894, constituting three cents per share, for the third quarter which ended 30 September, 2006. That compares with a net income to stockholders of US $331 405, or one cent per share, for the same period in 2005.

For the nine month period which ended on 30 September, 2006, Denver-based American Oil and Gas showed a net income of US $3 119 915, or eight cents per share, compared with US $552 479, or two cents per share for the same period a year ago. The nine month period this year included a US $4.2 million gain from the sale of the Big Sky project, US $3 million in gains from the sale of the Bear Creek prospect and Goliath project, and US $1.5 million in service fee income.

New Zealand Oil and Gas has raised US $175 million for the Kupe gas field and Pike River Coal mine development. The oil and gas explorer has raised the capital through a bank facility and share placement to fund future expansion. The company has placed 17.5 million new shares at US $1 each, with an additional 5.83 million shares with New Zealand based institutional investors. New Zealand Oil and Gas discovered Kupe in 1986 but development of the gas project was rendered uneconomical for 20 years due to the abundance of cheap Maui gas.

The biggest stakeholder now in Kupe is Origin Energy of Australia, with a 50% share. It is also the operator of the field. State-owned Genesis Energy, which holds 31 per cent, has bought all the gas from the field from the other stakeholders to run existing and new power stations.

As part of the Kupe financing, New Zealand Oil and Gas is launching a one-for-ten rights issue to raise up to US $23 million from shareholders.

Vietnam and Russia are heading for closer oil and gas co-operation after a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Minh Triet. Putin, led a delegation of oil executives and bankers to Vietnam. Putin was accompanied by Gazprom chief

Alexei Miller, whose state-run company controls the world’s largest natural gas reserves. Gazprom and state-owned PetroVietnam signed an agreement pledging greater co-operation, but no projects or costs have been detailed at this stage.

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