On Monday, Cal Dive International (NASDAQ:CDIS) announced that it will purchase Remington Oil & Gas (NYSE:REM) for $1.4 billion in cash and stock. This move will expand Cal Dive's oil and gas production business, and it continues an industry trend of acquisitions in the oil patch.

Back in October, I looked for some hidden nuggets among the oil exploration and production companies, in hopes of finding some purchase targets. Remington was one of the companies I evaluated, but it didn't make the cut because of a high multiple of price to proven reserves. Shelling out about $46.33 per share, Cal Dive is paying more than $28 per barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) for Remington's proven reserves -- a hefty price indeed, compared with the average multiple of $9.46/BOE for the Vintage Petroleum and Unocal acquisitions.

This premium price for Remington is similar to Norsk Hydro's (NYSE:NHY) purchase of Spinnaker Exploration last summer for nearly $42/BOE of proven reserves. In both cases, the purchase price isn't based solely on the proven reserves in the ground; rather, the price incorporates the value of each target company's unproven reserves and the vast potential of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico oil fields, where both Spinnaker and Remington have demonstrated success.

Remington's success has been quite impressive. Where many larger oil-and-gas companies have been struggling to increase reserves and production, Remington has been growing reserves at 20% per year and production at 23% per year. Plus, Remington's inventory in the deepwater Gulf holds potential reserves of 1 trillion cubic feet equivalent. In other words, the price in this purchase is much more about attractive new drilling prospects than it is about the geologist's definition of "proven reserves."

For those unfamiliar with Cal Dive, it's a rather unusual company that runs on a hybrid model of marine contracting and oil production. It uses its offshore-contracting capabilities to increase oil production from existing facilities and then shares in the revenue based on the price of oil. As you might guess, this model has been fantastic as of late; it has driven Cal Dive's shares up nearly 200% over the past two years.

With the purchase of Remington, Cal Dive is dramatically expanding its production business, and it's adding a number of properties that can benefit from Cal Dive's marine contracting capabilities. The price for Remington is obviously much higher than Occidental's purchase of Vintage (less than $9/BOE), but the future prospects are also much different.

This move reaffirms my belief that the deepwater Gulf of Mexico remains one of the hottest prospects in the oil patch. Investors looking for companies operating offshore that might catch the fancy of another suitor may want to check out Bois d'Arc Energy (NYSE:BDE) or Forest Oil (NYSE:FST). The latter will be spinning off its offshore activities in a deal with Mariner Energy, which will have an IPO later this year.

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Fool contributor Robert Aronen owns no shares of any company mentioned.The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.