Malaysia-based Wah Seong Corp. is in negotiations with The Orleans Group of West Africa, as it is interested in acquiring Orleans' strategic partner, Socotherm, for its pipe-coating business in Nigeria. Wah Seong anticipates an increase of activity in gas field developments, gas distribution and deepwater field exploration and development in the region. Originally, Orleans and Socotherm had a 40:60 pipe-coating joint venture in West Africa. In December last year, Orleans bought over Socotherm's 60% interest. Having acquired 100% of Socotherm's pipe-coating assets, OSK Research said Orleans would soon sell them to Wah Seong. A new joint-venture company would be set up and Wah Seong would then lease these assets back to the joint-venture company, according to OSK. With Socotherm in the picture, Wah Seong will gain access to key oil and gas markets like Europe, South America, Africa and Australia, where Socotherm has a reputable standing.