Merit Energy Claims Settled

Merit Energy Ltd., a Calgary-based junior oil and gas producer, restated certain quarterly financial statements in 1999. Following the restatements, Merit sought protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. Investor claims including class action claims, institutional investor claims and individual investor claims were instituted in Alberta, Ontario and B.C. The claimants included purchasers of Merit flow-through shares issued under a prospectus and former shareholders of Belfast Petroleum, which had been acquired by Merit under a share exchange transaction. The defendants included Merit’s trustee in bankruptcy, its officers and directors, its auditors and a syndicate of investment dealers who were underwriters of a flow-through share offering.

On August 7, 2002, Justice LoVecchio of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench approved a comprehensive settlement of all claims including the class actions, the institutional investor claims and individual investor claims. The settlement was reached after a lengthy mediation presided over by George Adams, Q.C., in Toronto. In November 2002, a settlement of the Merit Energy class action became effective.

The plaintiffs were represented by David Klein of Klein Lyons in Vancouver; William McNally of McNally Cuming Allchurch in Calgary, for the class; Peter Jervis and Susan Wortzman of Lerners in Toronto, for the institutional investors; and Norm Anderson of Shea Nerland Calnan in Calgary, for certain individual investors. Former Belfast Energy shareholders were represented by James Crawford of McDonald Crawford in Calgary.

Merit’s various directors and officers were represented by Dan McDonald, Q.C., and Jeff Sharpe of Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLP; Jim Rooney, Q.C., of Rooney Prentice; Alan Shewchuk of Machida Mack Shewchuk; and Robert Hall and Don Detomasi of Scott Hall LLP.

Tris Mallett and Caroline Cox of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Calgary represented the lead underwriter, FirstEnergy Capital Corp. The remainder of the underwriting syndicate was represented by David Tavender, Q.C., and Brian Foster of Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP in Calgary. Merit Energy’s auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, were represented by Graham McLennan of McLennan Ross in Edmonton. The trustee for Merit was represented by Frank Dearlove of Bennett Jones LLP.