Shale Daily / NGI All News Access

Antero Pays $193M to Increase Marcellus Leasehold

Antero Resources has acquired from CONSOL Energy a 7% overriding royalty interest in approximately 115,647 net acres in the Marcellus Shale in southwestern Pennsylvania and north central West Virginia for $193 million, the companies said Monday. The deal closed Sept. 21 with an effective date of July 1, 2011.

The acquisition increases Antero's average net revenue interest to 87% in acreage that the privately held company acquired from Dominion Resources three years ago (see Daily GPI, July 1, 2008) and adds 12 MMcf/d in existing Antero-operated wells. The acquisition adds more than 500 Bcfe of net risked resource to Antero's resource base, including more than 60 Bcfe of proved reserves, the company said.

The royalty interests were acquired last year as part of CONSOL's $3.48 billion deal with Dominion Resources Inc.'s for 491,000 acres in the Marcellus (see Daily GPI, March 16, 2010), and were retained by CONSOL when it sold half of its 663,350-net acre leasehold in the Marcellus to Noble Energy Inc. in a multi-year transaction valued at $3.4 billion (see Shale Daily, Aug. 19).

As part of the transaction, Antero and CONSOL cleared a lease ownership discrepancy adding an additional 5,000 net acres contiguous to Antero's leasehold position in West Virginia. With the closing of the acquisition, Antero owns more than 200,000 net acres of leasehold in the Marcellus. The Denver-based exploration and production company has 227 MMcf/d of gross operated production from the Marcellus, 99% of which is coming from 53 horizontal wells, resulting in 181 MMcf/d of net production.

CONSOL said it will retain existing shallow wells and formations and all other leasehold interests on the acreage, including geological formations generally above and below the Marcellus Shale. A 2008 farmout agreement between Antero and CONSOL was terminated and a joint use agreement regarding ongoing operations was signed, the companies said.

At the end of May Antero said it was adding $126 million to its 2011 capital budget to fund increased drilling in core areas of the Marcellus Shale and Piceance Basin (see Shale Daily, June 1). More than half (53%) of the budget increase was earmarked for drilling, with more than one-third (35%) to be spent on gathering pipeline expansion and 12% to acquire more acreage. Almost three-quarters of Antero's total 2011 capital budget was allocated to the Marcellus Shale, with 17% directed to the Piceance Basin and 12% for the Woodford and Fayetteville shales.

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