Engineering News

Benchmark Sells Polymer Unit to Hercules
Tuesday January 17, 2:23 pm ET

HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 17, 2006--Benchmark Performance Group, Inc., a leading developer and supplier of specialty chemicals for the oil and gas pressure pumping services industry, announced recently that it had closed the sale of the guar polymer manufacturing business of its subsidiary, Benchmark Polymer Products, L.P., to Aqualon Company, a business unit of Hercules, Incorporated, for $20 million, plus future milestone payments. Under the terms of the various agreements signed by the parties, Aqualon will acquire Benchmark Polymer Products' Dalton, Georgia polymer manufacturing facility and continue to supply standard and derivative guar polymer powders to Benchmark Energy Products, L.P. Benchmark will also become Aqualon's exclusive agent for the sale of guar and guar derivative powders to the Oilfield Services Industry. Under the terms of a separate agreement, Aqualon will also acquire a minority equity interest in Benchmark Performance Group, Inc.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, with additional oilfield chemical manufacturing facilities in Midland, Texas, and distribution facilities throughout the U.S., Benchmark was the first company to develop innovative processes for the manufacture and delivery of the polymer slurries used in oil and gas well fracturing applications. Under its "SlurryService" and "SlurryWatch" trademarks, the Company has, since 1997, been the only chemical services company that not only manufactures, but also delivers, monitors and re-supplies slurries to its customers on a "just in time" basis. By turn-key manufacturing, installing and maintaining its SlurryService systems right at the customer's field distribution facility, Benchmark can supply each system with the customer's own proprietary polymer slurries, remotely monitor the system, and resupply slurries on an as-needed basis, minimizing cost and maximizing product consistency and customer efficiency. The Company also holds a number of patents covering its slurry technologies.

"We see significant value created for both companies in this transaction," said Wayne Kinsey, Benchmark's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We know Aqualon has the ability and expertise to manufacture the dry polymers typically used in fracturing fluids. When you combine those capabilities with Benchmark's expertise in polymer manufacture and polymer slurry manufacture and delivery, we'll be even better positioned to bring the pressure pumping services companies both the products they need today and the products they'll want tomorrow."

Aqualon currently supplies a portfolio of water soluble polymers and technology to the global oil and gas industry for applications in drilling, cementing, completion, and fracturing. "This investment is consistent with Aqualon's strategy to expand its presence in the energy industry and leverage the full portfolio of Aqualon products," said Craig Rogerson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hercules. "The oil and gas industry and in particular, the stimulation of natural gas wells via hydraulic fracturing, is projected to continue a strong, long-term growth trend and Hercules is now well positioned to participate in that growth."

For more information about Benchmark, its products and its services, visit the Company's website at www.benchmark-research.com.

Source: Benchmark Performance Group, Inc.

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