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Chesapeake Sells 78,000 Acres in Haynesville for $450M, Second Deal in Works

Chesapeake Energy Corp. has reached a deal to sell 78,000 acres in the Haynesville Shale in northern Louisiana to an unnamed private company, the Oklahoma City-based independent announced Monday.

Sources told Reuters Monday that the buyer in the deal is Houston-based Indigo Minerals LLC.

The agreement, totaling $450 million, includes 250 wells producing 30 MMcf/d and is the first of two planned divestitures in the gassy play, the company said.

Of the 78,000 acres included in the first sale, 40,000 are considered core. The exploration and production (E&P) company said it is also marketing 50,000 net acres in the northeastern portion of its Haynesville operating area.

Both Monday’s agreement and the planned second divestiture are expected to close in 1Q2017.

CEO Doug Lawler said the first Haynesville transaction, combined with a previously announced deal to sell off assets in Appalachia, will bring the debt-laden Chesapeake’s total gross proceeds from divestitures signed or closed in 2016 to $2 billion.

“We expect this total to grow in the 2017 first quarter with our second proposed acreage sale in the Haynesville,” Lawler said. “With our long-term target of $2 to $3 billion in debt reduction, we will continue to look for opportunities to accelerate value through the sale of additional non-core assets in 2017 and beyond. Through the continual optimization of our asset base, reduction in our net leverage, improvement in liquidity and cash flow generating capabilities, we believe Chesapeake is well positioned for the years ahead."

Management had discussed plans to market a portion of Chesapeake’s Haynesville assets during a 3Q2016 conference call last month. During the third quarter, the E&P saw its Haynesville output increase both year/year and sequentially.

Chesapeake said it will retain roughly 250,000 net acres in the core of the Haynesville after the divestitures are complete. The company said its 2017 program in the play will focus on longer laterals and further enhanced completions, which management projects will result in adjusted production growth of 13% for the year.

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