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Thailand-Based Banpu Is Buyer of Range Resources Non-Op Assets in Pennsylvania

Thailand's largest coal producer, Banpu Pcl, disclosed this week that it purchased Range Resources Corp.'s 29.4% stake in the Chaffee Corners Joint Exploration Agreement in Bradford County, PA, for $112 million.

Range has been divesting noncore assets in recent months to boost liquidity and pursue new opportunities. The company said in March that it sold 11,000 non-operated acres for $112 million, which after purchase price adjustments netted it $110 million (see Shale DailyMarch 29).

Investment fund Kalnin Ventures LLC closed the purchase this week on behalf of Banpu. The joint exploration acreage is majority owned by Repsol SA, which is the operator, while Pittsburgh-based Abarta Energy owns the remaining interest. Kalnin said Banpu’s stake includes 156 Bcf of proved reserves, net production of 21 MMcf/d, 62 producing wells and another 14 that are waiting on completion.

The firm added that there are 170 de-risked locations across the acreage, which is served by "substantial midstream assets," including a gathering system and firm offtake contracts.

Kalnin Managing Director Chris Kalnin said the firm screened more than 100 projects before settling on the Chaffee Corners purchase. He added that the fund is pursuing similar assets in the Marcellus Shale and other North American resource plays.

Founded in 2014, Kalnin is focused on investing in non-operated assets that can give its clients a 20-40% working interest. It is primarily interested in opportunities in the Montney, Bakken, Eagle Ford, Marcellus and Utica shales, as well as the Permian Basin.

Kalnin said the deal, which was first disclosed in April with limited details (see Shale DailyApril 20), represents the first time a Thailand-based company has bought into U.S. shale gas assets.

Last year, Range sold its coalbed methane assets in Virginia to EnverVest Ltd. for $865 million (see Shale DailyDec. 31, 2015). It also continues to market its STACK (Sooner Trend, Anadarko, Canadian and Kingfisher) assets in Oklahoma.

The company still has more than 1 million acres prospective for the Marcellus, Utica and Upper Devonian shales in Pennsylvania. Earlier this month, Range said it would acquire Memorial Resource Development Corp. in a $4.4 billion all-stock deal that would give it entry into the Gulf Coast region (see Shale Daily,May 16).

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