AGR Group Acquires Leading U.S. Upstream Petroleum Engineering Group

AGR Group has acquired F.J. Brown & Associates, one of the leading drilling engineering and well management firms in the United States. The deal, involving a cash transaction at closing, is valued at US$20 million (NOK 120 million).

F.J. Brown, based in Houston, focuses on providing drilling and completion engineering support and well project management services to offshore oil and gas operators, both in the Gulf of Mexico and internationally.

During the past 12 months F.J. Brown has managed or participated in the drilling supervision of more than 100 exploration, appraisal and development wells. For 2007, the company forecasts revenues in excess of US$37 million with about 50 per cent being earned in the Gulf of Mexico and the remainder coming from international operations, mainly in West Africa and the Far East.

The F.J. Brown business will become part of AGR Americas and, as such, will represent a significant addition to the group's activities in the region. The group has a strategy of building its three core business sectors in North, Central and South America: petroleum services, drilling services and field operations. The group's petroleum services division is already established as an international leader in the provision of multi-client, multi-well drilling campaigns.

All of the employees and contractors of F.J. Brown are being offered continued association with the business under the new ownership. Francis Brown, President of F.J. Brown, is to join the Board of AGR Americas and lead AGR Petroleum Services' well management operations on the North and South American continents. The other three executive owners of F.J. Brown – Alfred S. Arcache, Ralph D. Doughty and Gerald J. Bologna – will continue in their current capacities.

During the past year AGR has considerably strengthened its interests in the U.S., first through the acquisition of the Peak Group, with its extensive well management operations, and then in January, through the acquisition of a 51 per cent interest in Horton Technologies Inc. (Horton), a Houston-based technology development company.

"The F.J. Brown acquisition represents an important step in our goal to be the leading provider of well construction engineering and well project management services, not only in the Gulf of Mexico, but globally," said Sverre Skogen, chief executive of AGR Group. "The ability to acquire the management and experience of one of the industry's most respected engineering firms, such as F.J. Brown, is a strong testament to our strategy and vision going forward. We look forward to working very closely with Mr. Brown and his team who I am confident will further enhance our product and service offering."

Erling Storaune, Chief Executive Officer of AGR Americas, added: "F.J. Brown's focus on health, safety and environmental protection, together with the highest quality of service, long-term customer relations and a loyal work force, makes this an excellent fit with the values and ethos of AGR."

Francis Brown, President of F.J. Brown & Associates, commented: "The F.J. Brown team is pleased to be joining a well-managed international group of professionals. We look forward to integrating into the AGR team to provide an expanded list of services to our clients."

With respect to this transaction, CIBC World Markets acted as exclusive financial advisors to AGR and Paragon Advising acted as exclusive financial advisors to F.J. Brown & Associates.