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Comstock Sells Texas Properties to Boost Liquidity

Comstock Resources Inc. is selling Texas oil and gas properties to an undisclosed buyer for about $115 million, realizing a pretax loss of $100-110 million as it works to increase liquidity in a low commodity price environment.

The Frisco, TX-based company said the sale of properties in and around Burleson County, TX, is expected to close this month with an effective date of May 1, 2015.

"This sale strengthens our balance sheet by providing us with an opportunity to further improve our liquidity during a period of low oil and natural gas prices," said CEO Jay Allison.

Properties being sold are producing about 1,900 b/d of oil and 5.5 MMcf/d of natural gas. At the end of 2014, Comstock's proved reserves included about 3.7 million bbl of oil and 3.9 Bcf of natural gas related to the interests being sold.

Burleson County is about 100 miles northwest of Houston. Over the years, operators there have targeted the Austin Chalk and other conventional formations. The Eagle Ford Shale is the source rock for oil produced in the area. Efforts to produce from the Eagle Ford generally have not been as successful as in other regions of the liquids-rich play.

Comstock said it expects to realize a pre-tax loss on the divestiture ranging from $100 million to $110 million. Taking the divestiture into account, Comstock revised its 2015 oil production guidance to 9,000-9,500 b/d and its natural gas production guidance to 125-150 MMcf/d. Additionally, the company said it has recently added about 10 MMcf/d of natural gas hedges at $3.20/Mcf for the twelve months beginning on July 1, 2015. Hedges will be added as opportunities develop, Comstock said.

Last December, the company announced that it was shifting spending from the liquids-rich Eagle Ford and the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale in Louisiana and Mississippi in order to spend more in the gas-rich Haynesville Shale (see Shale Daily, Dec. 18, 2014). At the time, investors panned the move and drove Comstock down to $5.90/share. The stock has since fallen further to close at $2.66/share on Wednesday.

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