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Ultra Petroleum Exits Marcellus With Sale to Alta

Ultra Petroleum Corp., an early Marcellus Shale entrant, has divested its last assets in the play, agreeing to sell its 50% nonoperated interest in 72,000 net acres for $115 million to an affiliate of privately held Alta Resources LLC.

The assets are in Centre and Clinton counties, PA, in an area that has seen less drilling than in the northeast and southwest part of the state. Ultra said the assets include current net production of 30 MMcf/d. 

“This transaction is consistent with our previously announced intention to monetize our noncore assets and streamline our portfolio to focus on our higher returning Pinedale assets,” CEO Michael Watford said. “We also believe it makes sense to bring the value of these assets forward and use these proceeds to help deleverage our balance sheet and further improve liquidity.”

Ultra, which emerged from bankruptcy earlier this year, also is marketing its Uinta Basin assets.  Watford said the company plans to announce a sale in the coming months. It holds 8,000 acres in Utah’s Uintah County.

The company first acquired leases in Pennsylvania in 2001, years before the first Marcellus well was drilled in the state. By 2014, management said widening Appalachian differentials had forced its focus back to the Rockies, where Wyoming’s Pinedale Anticline has been the gem of its portfolio ever since.

Ultra divested most of its Marcellus acreage in adeal swap with Royal Dutch Shell plc for more Pinedale acreage. Today, the company has more than 69,000 net acres in the Pinedale and Jonah fields in Sublette County, WY.

Alta already had 239,000 net acres primarily in northeast Pennsylvania. It also has producing wells in Clinton and Centre counties. 

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