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Statoil Sells More Marcellus Interests to Antero Resources

Statoil ASA has reached a deal to sell some of its non-operated assets in West Virginia to Antero Resources Corp. for $96 million.

The agreement comes as part of a larger acquisition announced in June by Antero, in which it said it would acquire 55,000 net acres in the state from Southwestern Energy. Co. for $450 million (see Shale DailyJune 10). That deal included a tag-along option for Antero to buy the remaining 19% interest in those properties from Statoil, which was undisclosed at the time. Antero said last month that it had received notice of the company's intent to exercise its tag along rights.

Statoil said the 11,500 acres is mostly located in Wetzel, Tyler and Doddridge counties. Southwestern made the sale as part of a larger initiative to reduce debt and maximize efficiency, while Antero said the acquisition would allow it more development opportunities in its core.

The deal is expected to close this quarter. Since 2014, Statoil has sold $897 million in both operated and non-operated properties in the Appalachian Basin. In May, the company agreed to sell all of its operated properties in West Virginia across 62,500 net acres to EQT Corp. for $407 million (see Shale DailyMay 3). In December 2014, it agreed with Southwestern to reduce its working interest in the Southern Marcellus Shale from 29% to 23% across more than a half million acres for $394 million (see Shale DailyDec. 23, 2014).

"The U.S. business is one of the focus areas in Statoil's international strategy," said Executive Vice President of Development and Production in the United States Torgrim Reitan. "We will continue actively to manage the portfolio, optimize field developments and step-up efficiency improvements and cost reduction measures."

After the latest divestiture, Statoil is left with its operated properties in Ohio and its 350,000 net acre non-operated position in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The Norwegian company entered U.S. shale gas in 2008, when it inked a joint venture with Chesapeake Energy Corp. in the Marcellus (see Shale DailyNov. 17, 2008). Its position has grown to include operated properties in the Bakken and Eagle Ford shales.

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