Double Eagle Petroleum Co. said Tuesday it is joining Warren Resources Inc. to increase its stakes in Wyoming’s Atlantic Rim by acquiring some of Anadarko Petroleum Corp.’s remaining interests.

The Atlantic Rim in Carbon County, WY, encompasses more than 270,000 acres and has long been a coalbed methane (CBM) target for natural gas producers. The play includes several operating units, including Catalina and Spyglass Hill. Double Eagle already has stakes in nearly 100,000 acres; it also operates and holds a 72.4% working interest (WI) in Catalina.

The $6.8 million deal with Anadarko would add a total of 18.4 Bcf of proved producing reserves at a cost of 37 cents/Mcf, with an increase in net production volumes of 5.6 MMcf/d. Double Eagle also would increase its WI in Catalina to 86%; the Spyglass WI would jump to 30% from 20%. The transaction is expect to close this month with an effective date of Aug. 1, 2012.

Warren last month said it had a $21 million deal on the table to acquire some of Anadarko’s stakes in the Atlantic Rim project (see Shale Daily, Sept. 6). Anadarko in 2Q2012 had written down almost $978 million in part because of low natural gas prices for CBM. At that time Warren said it had a transaction to acquire up to 100% of the Anadarko’s holdings in Spyglass Hill (41.5% WI) and Catalina (19.5% WI), as well as a 50% stake in the midstream assets. However, the deal included the right for partners to exercise their preferential rights.

Double Eagle said an appraisal well in the Niobrara formation of the Catalina Unit is scheduled to be completed beginning later this month. The well is being completed in two stages, with plans to hydraulically fracture two zones in the lower Niobrara and three zones in the deeper Sage Break, Dakota and Frontier gas formations.

Before next June, Double Eagle also has to drill 25 wells in the Spyglass Hill Unit to hold its undeveloped acreage, it said. “The current timing of those wells will be determined once an operator is designated for the unit” by Anadarko. Warren had indicated last month that it expected to become the operator.

The Atlantic Rim CBM program is to be evaluated in 2013, the company said. Based on the results of the Niobrara prospect well completion, “we may drill additional Niobrara or deeper formation wells…” In addition to the Niobrara, “other formations in Wyoming such as the Sussex and Parkman are now being accessed with advanced horizontal drilling methods. Some of this activity is targeting known reservoirs, where older vertical wells may have left behind considerable quantities of oil. Double Eagle holds acreage near several of these newly developing plays and is closely monitoring permitting and drilling activities in these areas.

Still being pursued “aggressively” are “strategic mergers and asset acquisitions that management believes will improve shareholder value,” Double Eagle said. All of the nonoperated production and undeveloped acreage are being assessed “to evaluate opportunities for joint venture, pooling of interests, farm outs or dispositions.” In line with those objectives, the company said it would sell some of its undeveloped Wyoming leases to an undisclosed private company for $1.6 million, or about $2,100/acre.

In other news, Kurtis Hooley, who has been Double Eagle’s CFO, has been promoted to COO. His new duties include working with the CEO on project development, capital formation alternatives and oversight of day-to-day operations, the company said. Ashley Jenkins, who had been controller, was named CFO.