Ensign Lifts Bid For Australian Oil & Gas

Ensign Resource Service Group has raised its offer to buy the rest of Australian Oil and Gas Corp. to A$156 million ($89 million), topping Precision Drilling Corp.'s bid as the Canadian rivals vie for the oil well driller.

Ensign raised its hostile bid for Australian Oil and Gas shares by forty one percent to A$2.40 a share and A$1.20 for listed options, if it obtains control by June 13th, it said in a statement. That is 6.7 percent more than Precision's friendly offer of A$2.25 a share and A$1.05 per option made last week. Both would pay cash. Ensign already owns sixteen percent of the Australian based firm.

Precision, the biggest Canadian oilfield services company, and Ensign, the second-largest, want to buy Australian Oil and Gas to increase their business outside of Canada, where drilling has declined because the oil producing companies have been cutting their levels of spending.

“We see this as a stepping stone to what we hope to do globally,” Glenn Dagenais, Ensign's vice president of finance, said in an interview.

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