After taking a more than $2 billion charge against its Canadian and U.S. liquids-rich properties in the second quarter, Royal Dutch Shell plc has decided that its Eagle Fore Shale assets would be better off in the hands of someone else.
"We have decided to sell our Eagle Ford Shale asset in Texas...[W]e have progressed with the strategic review of our onshore shale assets and have identified assets that do not meet our global targets for materiality and scale. We believe our Eagle Ford leasehold and producing asset offers a valuable growth opportunity for another experienced operator," spokeswoman Kimberly Windon told NGI's Shale Daily.
A data room will be opened for the 106,000 acres and 150 producing wells the company holds in the Eagle Ford while regular operations continue in the play. "Shell is proud of the more than 50-years we have operated in South Texas," Windon said.
Shell has been busy over the last week. Last Tuesday the U.S. arm of Royal Dutch Shell announced it was throwing in the towel in the Kansas portion of the Mississippian Lime, selling off 45 producing wells and about 600,000 net lease acres. (see Shale Daily, Sept. 25). A day later the company reported it would close its oil shale research in Colorado (seeShale Daily, Sept. 27).
In early August, Shell said a review of its North American portfolio might lead to the sale of as much as half of its main nine unconventional natural gas and oil assets (see Shale Daily, Aug. 2, 2013). CFO Simon Henry told financial analysts during a second quarter conference call that the "production curve is less positive than we originally expected."
The writedown doesn't mean that Shell has soured on North America's unconventionals, said CEO Peter Voser. "I think the liquids-rich shale development in North America in general is progressing well," and the reduction in the value of some assets only reflects the higher risks involved in developing the portfolio, Voser said.
Shell isn't the first big international company to find tough going in U.S. shales. One year ago, Australia's BHP Billiton Ltd. took a US$2.84 billion pre-tax charge against the value of dry gas assets in the Fayetteville Shale due to weak natural gas prices and oversupply (see Shale Daily, Aug. 7, 2012). Not long after, UK-based BG Group announced plans to cut back on U.S. drilling and focus on liquefied natural gas (see Shale Daily, Nov. 5, 2012).