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Range Resources Corp. and Denbury Resources Inc. in separate announcements said they would sell some onshore natural gas properties to focus on their core businesses. Range is selling some Ohio properties that include around 3,500 producing wells that currently produce 25 MMcfe/d net. The properties, which are 70% weighted to gas, include 418,000 net acres of leasehold and about 1,600 miles of pipeline and gathering system infrastructure. Range retained an adviser to assist in the sales process and it plans to open a data room in early January. Assuming a suitable bid is received, Range expects to close the sale before the end of March. Denbury, which now focuses on carbon dioxide tertiary recovery projects in the onshore, agreed to sell its remaining Barnett Shale stake for $210 million to Talon Oil & Gas LLC, a privately held producer. Talon, which expects to complete the transaction by then end of the year, had earlier purchased a 60% stake in the properties (see NGI, May 18).

Goodrich Petroleum Corp.'s capital spending in 2010 will be flat compared with 2009, but natural gas-heavy volumes still are forecast to jump 15-25%, the producer said. A preliminary capital expenditure budget for 2010 is set at $230 million, which is the same as the 2009 budget. About 24 net horizontal wells are to be drilled, with two-thirds of next year's spending directed at the Haynesville play in Caddo and DeSoto parishes in Louisiana, where Goodrich is partnering with Chesapeake Energy Corp. The preliminary budget includes $190 million for drilling and completion and $40 million allocated to leasehold and infrastructure. Goodrich also agreed to buy 12,000 more net acres in Nacogdoches and Angelina counties, TX, which are in the East Texas portion of the Haynesville play. Including the additional acreage, the company has about 85,000 net acres prospective for the Haynesville play in Texas and Louisiana.

Trans Energy Inc. has secured 45,000 MMBtu/d of firm natural gas takeaway capacity in its main operating areas of Marshall, Wetzel and Marion counties in West Virginia from Caiman Eastern Midstream LLC, the company said. Caiman is to design, construct and operate midstream pipelines and processing facilities and connect to interstate pipelines including Texas Eastern Transmission's mainlines into the Northeast and New England. Additionally, Trans Energy has sold to Caiman its Wetzel County pipeline system, which will be utilized by Caiman as part of its proposed 30-mile-plus gathering system. Trans Energy said it is continuing to expand its acreage position centered on Wetzel, Marion and Marshall counties. It said it believes the area is the heart of the Marcellus Shale, the most prolific natural gas resource in Appalachia.

A subsidiary of Enterprise Products Partners LP has purchased a 70% stake in the Rio Grande Pipeline, a natural gas liquids (NGL) pipe, from HEP Navajo Southern LP. The purchase price was not disclosed. The Rio Grande Pipeline, which Enterprise Products Operating LLC now operates, is 30% owned by BP plc. The 265-mile, eight-inch diameter pipe originates near Odessa, TX, in Ector County and transports a primarily butane/propane mix to a Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex)-owned interconnect at the Mexican border south of El Paso. From that point, Pemex transports the NGLs to its Mendez Terminal near Juarez, Mexico for distribution to consumers. The Rio Grande Pipeline has the capacity to transport up to 25,000 b/d of NGLs, Enterprise said.

Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc. subsidiary Energy Resource Technology GOM (ERT) said it has made a deepwater oil and gas discovery in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) at its Jake Prospect in Green Canyon Block 490 that it estimated at 50-75 Bcfe gross on a proved, probable and possible basis. The discovery well was drilled to 13,504 feet in 3,740 feet of water and encountered 134 feet of net oil and gas pay in a single sand interval. ERT said the well has been cased and temporarily abandoned for a future subsea completion. First production is estimated in mid-2011. ERT owns a 25% working interest in both the discovery well and Green Canyon Block 490. ERT also recently discovered 20 feet of oil and gas pay at its 75% owned and operated South Timbalier 145 Field. The discovery was drilled to 14,193 feet true vertical depth. That well is currently being completed and is expected to commence production this month.

Rapid City, SD-based Black Hills Corp.'s Nebraska natural gas distribution utility is seeking a $12.1 million, or 6.5%, increase in annual revenue to help pay for investments in the utility gas infrastructure in the state during the past three years. The increase would be effective on an interim basis in March 2010, subject to final approval by the Nebraska Public Service Commission. Black Hills Energy is seeking to recover the cost of capital on $28.8 million in investments that the company made in its Nebraska natural gas distribution systems since July 2006, and increased operating expenses incurred during the same period. Black Hills last filed for a rate increase in Nebraska in November 2006. Black Hills Energy is also proposing to change the way its rates are structured, moving from a single delivery charge to a two-tier declining block delivery charge, a rate design that the utility said is fairly common and in line with other natural gas utilities in Nebraska. Declining block rates are designed to keep the utility's revenue collection relatively level, minimizing the volatility impact of extreme weather.

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