Novus Petroleum Ltd. agreed to pay Apache Corp. $58 million for stakes in two Gulf of Mexico gas fields to boost earnings and reserves in the U.S. In turn, Apache bought all Novus' interests in gas fields in Egypt for $62 million. Novus paid a Korean group headed by Samsung Corp. $40 million for the assets in 1998. Earlier this year, Novus purchased a 30 percent stake in another gas exploration project in Texas and has been looking for gas fields in regions such as the U.S. and Europe where large populations and regulations make it is easier to sell the fuel. Meantime, Apache has been expanding its Egyptian interests, paying $410 million in January for Repsol YPF's fields in that country. Novus bought 30 percent of the Stratton gas fields, located onshore Texas in the Gulf of Mexico Basin, and a 50 percent interest in deep exploration rights beneath the Magnet Withers field, located onshore south west of Houston.