Chesapeake Energy Corp. is paying $200 million cash for the Yellow Rose and Bluebonnet assets in the Eagle Ford Shale of Antares Energy Ltd. and partner San Isidro Development Co, Antares said Monday.

The company is buying 100% of 23,180 net oil and natural gas leasehold acres in McMullen County, TX, at a price representing $8,628/acre. Closing is expected by Dec. 15.

The average value of all of the Eagle Ford transactions in the past year is $7,098/acre, while the average value of transactions between 10,000 and 40,000 acres is $6,356/acre, Antares said. "The price achieved of $8,628/acre represents a premium of 21.5% over all transactions and a premium of 35.7% over transactions between 10,000 and 40,000 acres," the company said.

Antares, which is based in Australia, credited its spending on infrastructure development in the play for the successful sale.

"Operationally, Antares realized that to differentiate itself, investments had to be made in infrastructure and a concerted effort be made to better understand the production characteristics of the Eagle Ford Shale," the company said. "This was achieved by investment in large-diameter gas pipelines being laid throughout the properties, a centrally located frack [fracturing] pond built to service the water needs of the completion operations and radically different fracture stimulations performed on each of the wells to collect the scientific data necessary to design future, optimal fracture stimulations."

Antares has retained an interest in the Eagle Ford with more than 8,900 acres in the high-yield condensate region with its operating partner Petrohawk Energy Corp., noted Antares CEO James Cruickshank. "Antares will be free carried through the drilling of over 110 wells to fully develop the acreage on 80-acre spacing. The first well in this acreage surpassed all expectations by averaging 1,180 bbl of condensate equivalent per day in its inaugural month."

In October China's CNOOC Ltd. (China National Offshore Oil Corp.) struck a joint venture deal with Chesapeake in the Eagle Ford that was valued at more than $2 billion (see Shale Daily, Oct. 12).