Privately held, Calgary-based Sun Century Petroleum Corp. has increased the offer of its rival bid to acquire Masters Energy Inc., Calgary, (Toronto: MSY) in a deal now valued at approximately C$30 million in cash.

Sun Century will now offer C$1.95 per Masters share, an increase from its previous offer of C$1.85 per share. Masters had approximately 15.4 million shares outstanding at year-end 2008.

Zargon Energy Trust, Calgary, (Toronto: ZAR-UN) made a bid to acquire Masters for C$1.83 per share on March 2, plus assume C$13.2 million in debt in a deal valued at C$41.4 million.

Sun Century says its bid is a 62.5% premium to Masters’ Feb. 26 closing price, the last trading day before the Zargon offer. Sun Century reports Zargon’s assets are primarily gas-weighted with only a portion of production hedged. The company adds that its offer is superior because it gives Masters shareholders full liquidity, whereas the Zargon offer will only grant limited liquidity due to the bid granting Masters’ shareholders up to 1.49 million Zargon trust units. Sun Century says that only 12% of Zargon trust units were traded on the open market between Jan. 1 and March 31.

Masters has assets on 32,600 net acres in northern, central and southern Alberta in the Little Bow and North Peace River Arch areas. Production as of Dec. 31 was approximately 1,300 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Proved reserves as of Dec. 31 were 2.5 million barrels equivalent, and proved and probable reserves were 7.3 million barrels equivalent.

Masters had previously planned to discuss the Zargon offer during a special meeting on April 28.

Peters & Co. Ltd. is financial advisor to Sun Century.