Chesapeake Energy Corp. on Friday agreed to sell an estimated 99,000 net acres in southwestern Pennsylvania, including 10 wells, to EQT Corp. for $113 million, which puts the sale price at roughly $876/acre.
EQT agreed to buy 67,000 acreage prospective for the Marcellus Shale, as well as a 32,000-acre leasehold in the Utica Shale. Close to 25,000 acres in the transaction are within EQT's core Marcellus development in Washington, Greene and Allegheny counties. EQT said it now has about 42,000 acres within the Marcellus that "are unlikely to be developed due to near-term lease expirations or a scattered footprint."
The deal announced Friday is Chesapeake's second in Pennsylvania and third transaction clinched in a week's time. Southwestern Energy Co. agreed to buy about 162,000 net acres in the Marcellus for the bargain price of $93 million, or an estimated $547/acre (see Shale Daily, April 30). SemGroup struck a $300 million cash transaction for interests in subsidiary Mid-America Midstream Gas Services LLC, which includes a midstream contract and 540,000 net acres in the Mississippian Lime (see Shale Daily, May 2).
Of the 10 wells in Washington County now owned by Chesapeake, three are producing and seven are to be turned to sales by the end of the year, which in total would add about 1 Bcfe of sales volume, EQT said. The wells have an estimated average lateral length of 4,200 feet and represent about 54 Bcfe of proved developed reserves.
About $60 million of the total purchase price is being allocated to the undeveloped acreage and $53 million is to be dedicated to the existing wells. Once the transaction closes, which is expected by the end of the month, EQT plans to drill four more wells on the new acreage this year.
EQT said the acquisition "will not have a significant impact" on its capital budget nor its sales volume guidance for 2013, which recently was increased to 340-350 Bcfe. The operator is considered one of the biggest Marcellus leaseholders, with an estimated 532,000 net acres at the end of 2012.
In 1Q2013, EQT's production volumes increased by 47% from a year ago, with Marcellus volumes jumping 103% (see Shale Daily, April 26). Sales volumes from the Marcellus averaged 606 MMcfe/d in the first three months of this year, compared with 295 MMcfe/d in 1Q2012.