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Linn Casts Off Washakie Properties for $200M, Boosts Share Repurchases

Houston-based Linn Energy Inc. is continuing to pare its portfolio, announcing Wednesday it has secured $200 million for the Washakie field in Wyoming.

The properties cover 163,000 net acres, with second quarter production of 66 MMcfe/d net, proved reserves of 226 Bcfe and proved developed reserves estimated at $102 million. Annualized field level cash flow on these properties is $35 million, not including estimated annual general/administrative expenses of $4-5 million.

For the fourth quarter, $3 million had been budgeted to develop the properties.

“This latest sale of noncore assets is another step forward in the ongoing transformation of Linn,” said Chairman Evan Lederman, who noted the producer has evolved from a production-based master limited partnership (MLP) to an independent exploration and production company.

“In addition, the board believes that the incremental liquidity provided by this sale and others is best utilized to continue to repurchase shares at what we believe is still a significant discount to fair market value. Accordingly, the board has authorized an incremental $200 million for share repurchases from $200 million to $400 million.”

Linn, formerly one of the biggest leaseholders in the U.S. onshore, has been culling its assets for months since emerging from bankruptcy earlier this year. The portfolio has been stripped to pay down debt.

Linn has since zeroed in on Midcontinent prospects, agreeing in June to partner with privately held Tulsa-based Citizen Energy II LLC to form Roan Resources LLC, which is working in several Oklahoma counties.

The Washakie sale, set to close by the end of the year, is not to be the last, according to the producer. Linn said it is continuing to pursue opportunities in the Midcontinent, Rockies, North Louisiana and East Texas.

Year-to-date the operator has announced sale agreements with contract prices totaling more than $1.3 billion. Through the end of September the company also has repurchased about 4.6 million shares for $157 million at an average price of $34.06/share.

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