Williams is buying interests in the Barnett Shale of North Texas for $166 million in cash from privately held Aspect Abundant Shale LP and other parties, the company said last Monday. Closing is expected in September.
The assets represent an estimated 175 Bcfe of proved, probable and possible reserves on approximately 10,000 net acres, primarily in Tarrant, Johnson and Hood counties, Williams said.
At year-end 2007 Williams had an estimated 277 Bcfe of proved, probable and possible reserves in the Barnett Shale. Prior to the Aspect acquisition, Williams' holding in the play was approximately 34,000 net acres. The company has four drilling rigs operating in the Barnett and plans to add two rigs in North Texas to begin developing the new acreage.
"Williams originally entered the Barnett Shale in 2005. Over the past three years we've focused on gaining efficiencies in the area by adding size and scale through a number of attractive bolt-on acquisitions like this," said Ralph Hill, president of Williams' exploration and production (E&P) business. "As we saw with our recent purchase of significant reserves in the Highlands area of Colorado's Piceance Basin, we're successfully adding new resource potential to Williams' overall E&P portfolio."
The Aspect acquisition includes 41 existing producing wells with daily net production of approximately 9 MMcfe. In the first quarter Williams produced an average of 38 MMcfe/d net in the Barnett Shale.
Denver-based Aspect was formed in June 2006 as a joint venture through affiliates of Aspect Energy LLC and First Reserve, a Houston-based private equity firm. According to its website, Aspect has acquired acreage in the Barnett, Fayetteville, Woodford, Marcellus and Utica shales.
Earlier this month Houston-based junior E&P company Dune Energy Inc. said it agreed to sell its Barnett Shale assets in Denton and Wise counties for $41.5 million effective May 1, 2008, with closing expected on or before July 31. And Quicksilver Resources announced a $1.307 billion cash and stock acquisition of Barnett assets from various private parties (see NGI, July 14). In May Devon Energy Corp. said its Barnett production surpassed 1 Bcfe/d (see NGI, May 12).
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