Oilfield services giants Halliburton and Baker Hughes have nixed their merger following opposition from the Obama administration, according to multiple reports.
The Houston-based energy companies last month pledged to "vigorously contest" the U.S. Justice Department's lawsuit against Halliburton's acquisition of Baker Hughes, but the obstacles appeared too significant to surmount, according to reports by Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.
The demise of a deal previously valued at $34 billion was generally anticipated on Wall Street, where investors had expected government opposition to the tie-up of two of the three largest U.S. oilfield services companies.
Halliburton would owe Baker Hughes a $3.5 billion breakup fee if the deal falls apart, according to Deutsche Bank.
Though the companies had pledged to sell assets to assuage monopoly concerns, U.S. antitrust division chief Bill Baer delivered a blistering rebuke of the deal, telling reporters in April that the deal posed a "serious" threat to competition and "wasn't fixable."
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit to block the deal in April, about a year and a half after it was first unveiled. The move was seen as an indicator of the Obama administration's increasingly active role in blocking big mergers.
U.S. Oil Drillers Cut Rigs For 6th Week To Nov 2009 Lows
April 29, 2016
U.S. energy firms cut oil rigs for a sixth week in a row to the lowest level since November 2009, oil services company Baker Hughes Inc said Friday, as drillers remained cautious in returning to the well pad despite crude futures climbing to their highest levels this year.
Drillers cut 11 oil rigs in the week to April 29, bringing the total rig count down to 332, Baker Hughes said in its closely followed report. RIG-OL-USA-BHI
The number of U.S. oil rigs currently operating compares with the 679 rigs operating in the same week a year ago.
Energy firms have slashed spending by sharply reducing oil and gas drilling since the collapse in crude markets began in mid-2014. U.S. crude futures fell from over $107 a barrel in June 2014 to a near 13-year low around $26 in February.
U.S. crude futures, however, have spiked nearly 80 percent in the past two months and hit 2016 highs of just under $46 on Friday as market sentiment turned more upbeat despite the persistent oversupply.
Norway- 13 Offshore Workers Killed In Helicopter Crash
April 29, 2016
All 11 passengers and two crew members were killed as a helicopter carrying people from a Statoil ASA-operated oil and gas field offshore Norway crashed on its way to Bergen on Norway’s west coast.
The CHC helicopter went down around noon near Turoey, outside Bergen, coming back from the Gullfaks B platform. Official rescue operations ended at 5 p.m. local time and all have been confirmed dead, according to Norway’s Joint Rescue Coordination Center.
It was the first deadly flight accident in Norway’s offshore industry since 1997, when a helicopter on its way to the Norne field crashed in the Norwegian Sea, killing all 12 onboard. The latest fatality in the industry happened in December, when one person was killed after a wave crashed into a rig contracted by Statoil.
The rotor blade of the helicopter, a Eurocopter 225, was found on land while the hull was under water at a depth of 6 meters to 7 meters, according to John Sjursoe, a spokesman for the rescue center.
In the neighboring U.K., helicopter flights were suspended as recently as 2013 after four people were killed in a crash of a machine carrying workers from a rig.
An oil and gas supply ship has raised an alert on the possibility of pirates operating close to an oil field about 120km northwest of Labuan, Sabah.
However, Malaysian enforcement officials have yet to find any suspicious activity in the area after the crew of MV Armada Tuah sent out an alert signal on seeing four small boats tailing them as they left the oil field in Kikeh waters northwest of Sabah at about 11am Thursday.
A picture of the supply boat, purportedly being tailed by three boats, has been making its round in the social media since late Monday.
Malaysian agencies combing the area have not spotted any unusual activity in the high seas close to the oil and gas platform.
When contacted by The Star Online, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency director-general Maritime Admiral Datuk Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar confirmed that they received a report on the purported incident.
"We have already sent our ships and so far we are still checking who they are (the boats that were tailing them),’’ he said.