Denver-based independent SM Energy Co. said Monday it planned to raise “at least $300-500 million” by selling nonstrategic assets or through joint venture (JV) agreements over the next year.

“Our goal is to continue to refine our portfolio in a manner that optimizes value for our stockholders,” said CEO Tony Best. “A key element in support of that goal will be divesting nonstrategic assets and/or entering into joint ventures to fund the development of our core resource play opportunities.”

Among the assets on the list for potential sale or for a JV agreement are 43,000 net acres in the Marcellus Shale, the producer said. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has been engaged to market the acreage, which is in the Pennsylvania counties of McKean and Potter.

SM Energy, formerly St. Mary Land & Exploration Co., said its second Marcellus well in McKean County, the Potato Creek 3H, began producing to sales in early August at a “facility-constrained” initial gas production rate of more than 7 MMcfe/d.

Albrecht & Associates also was engaged to market a set of undisclosed noncore, “primarily proved developed” properties, “with a goal of completing a transaction by the end of 2010,” the producer said. Current production associated with the package is 13 MMcfe/d.

SM Energy operates in five core areas in the ArkLaTex, Gulf Coast, Midcontinent, Rocky Mountains and Permian Basin regions.

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