News In Brief

With a bid of $3.5 billion, Occidental Petroleum won the rights to Altura Energy, the Texas-New Mexico oil and gas operations of BP Amoco and Royal Dutch/Shell, Reuters reported. Except for high-risk ventures in Colombia and Yemen, Occidental is invested mainly in the US and has become something of a specialist in acquiring oil fields where production is falling. The Permian Basin where Altura operates, while still the largest US land-based reserves outside Alaska, yields less than 1 million barrels of crude a day, compared to 2.1 million at its peak in 1974.

The megamerger of three nonlife insurance carriers in Japan has collapsed, reports said. The deal, announced last October, was to have linked Mitsui Marine & Fire, Nippon Fire & Marine, and Koa Fire & Marine in a company that would have been the nation's largest in its field. Hoped-for economies of scale were unlikely to be achieved, the reports said, and the companies were planning to explore other merger possibilities.

In another move to return to profitability, Nissan said it is disposing of its aviation division to focus on automaking. Without releasing details, the company said the unit would be sold to Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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