R&B Falcon Corp. retreat from being among service companies with E&P assets proved nifty for U.K.-based Enterprise Oil Plc. Enterprise, the U.K.'s largest independent, with a US$3.9-billion market cap, has been looking for more than a year for Gulf of Mexico assets, with which to make the area one of its core revenue producers. It had only one producing asset in the region-deepwater Garden Banks 161, in which it has a 65% net equity interest and was receiving 1,487 net BOE of production per day year-end 1999 or less than 1% of its companywide total of 214,647 BOE per day. Meanwhile, Houston-based offshore driller R&B Falcon was looking to shed the Gulf of Mexico assets it acquired when buying Reading & Bates, a fellow marine driller, four years ago. A deal was done last month. For $127 million, Enterprise picked up a 50% working interest in the under-development deepwater Boomvang Field, interests in 19 other Gulf deepwater exploration blocks, and 100% working interest in Gyrfalcon Field, offshore Louisiana. Boomvang Field, which is operated by Kerr-McGee Corp. with a 30% stake, is estimated to have reserves of 70- to 100 million BOE. Production is expected to begin in early 2002. Gryfalcon is a producing gas field with reserves of 3 million BOE. Enterprise also recently agreed to farm-in to a 25% interest in 12 exploration blocks operated by Texaco Inc., in the deepwater Green Canyon and Walker Ridge areas. And, it won nine new leases in the Atwater Valley and Mississippi Canyon during Lease Sale 175 in March. R&B Falcon plans to use proceeds to strengthen its balance sheet. Baker Hughes Inc. is also looking to sell the E&P assets it acquired with its purchase of Western Atlas Inc. two years ago. The company estimates the properties will fetch $250 million. -Nissa Darbonne