ExxonMobil Corp. unit XTO Energy Inc. is picking up the Fayetteville Shale natural gas assets of Petrohawk Energy Corp. for $575 million. The deal puts ExxonMobil at No. 2 in the Fayetteville leaseholder pack.

The acreage is located primarily in Cleburne and Van Buren counties, AR. The deal has an effective date of Oct. 1, 2010. As of Dec. 31, 2009, Petrohawk had estimated proved reserves in the Fayetteville of 299 Bcf. Current production is about 98 MMcfe/d, Petrohawk said.

The deal consists of 150,000 net acres with 97 MMcf/d net production, ExxonMobil said. "This acquisition provides a strategic addition to XTO's existing 410,000 net acre position in the Fayetteville Shale Trend," an ExxonMobil spokesman said. "ExxonMobil and its XTO subsidiary will continue to pursue value-adding upstream projects..."

According to Petrohawk's most recent investor presentation, the company had 157,000 net acres in the Fayetteville. The Fayetteville acquisition gives ExxonMobil about 537,000 net acres in the region, making it the second largest Fayetteville leaseholder, ahead of Chesapeake Energy Corp., and trailing only Southwestern Energy Co.

The Fayetteville is now ExxonMobil's largest North American unconventional resource holding. Previously, it had been the Bakken Shale, where the company currently holds 450,000 net acres.

Houston-based Petrohawk has also agreed to sell XTO its midstream assets in the Fayetteville for $75 million with closing expected early next year.

ExxonMobil completed its $43 billion acquisition of XTO in June (see Daily GPI, June 28).

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