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Magnum Hunter Busy Transitioning to Appalachian Pure-Play

Year-over-year production was flat for Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. in the second quarter as it continued transitioning to an Appalachian pure-play, making progress on its first Utica Shale well in West Virginia and blocking up its acreage position with acquisitions in the basin.

Through the first six months of the year, Magnum has divested several noncore assets in Canada, South Texas and West Virginia, netting more than $100 million (seeShale DailyApril 22).

On Friday, the company finally addressed months of speculation about its Williston Basin assets. Although it stopped short of providing any great detail, management said that it "has made a strategic decision to monetize its Divide County, ND, operated and nonoperated properties and reallocate these financial resources to its core operations in the Appalachian Basin."

The move is no surprise, considering that Magnum has already picked up more than 16,000 net acres in the Marcellus and Utica shales this year (see Shale DailyJuly 25). In 2013, the company closed on $700 million in noncore divestitures, including the sale of its Eagle Ford Shale assets to Penn Virginia Corp. for $401 million (see Shale DailyApril 4, 2013).

Although production in the second quarter was mostly flat, dropping to 15,923 boe/d from 15,941 boe/d in 2Q2013, adjusted production, which includes assets it sold off, was up 18% in 2Q2014 to 17,822 boe/d from 17,814 boe/d in the year-ago period.

"The financial numbers reported today continue to reflect the changes being made in our business model with much greater emphasis being focused on our Appalachian assets," said CEO Gary Evans . "This redirection will continue throughout the year as we are successful at divesting all other properties to focus on our substantial leasehold position in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays."

While the company spent heavily on its Appalachian assets last quarter, which in part led to a net loss of $80 million (43 cents/share), compared to net income of $151.3 million (89 cents/share) in 2Q2013, it did earn more revenue on oil and gas volumes. Magnum's average price for its oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids was $53.96/boe, up from $51.10/boe in the year-ago period. 

Also last quarter, the company made progress on its long-awaited Utica Shale well in Tyler County, WV, the Stewart Winland 1300 (see Shale DailyMay 16). That well is relatively close to the company's Stalder 3UH in Monroe County, OH, which it tested in February at 32.5 MMcf/d (see Shale DailyFeb. 14).

The company said it has finished drilling and casing the well to a vertical depth of 11,050 feet and a horizontal length of 5,500 feet. The well was completed and stimulated with 22 hydraulic fracturing stages. Magnum said the well is currently resting and an initial production rate will be released in September.

"The wireline logging data confirmed the Point Pleasant target formation from the Stewart Winland 1300 pad location contains hydrocarbons and appears to possibly have even more bottom hole pressure than the Stalder 3UH," the company said in its earnings release.

Magnum completed five wells in the Marcellus and Utica shales last quarter and participated in 13 nonoperated wells and the completion of another six in the Williston Basin. Magnum said Friday that it will continue to purchase land in the Appalachian Basin.

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