Norway’s Statoil ASA has agreed to sell its average working interest (WI) in more than a half million non-operated acres in the Marcellus Shale to Southwestern Energy Corp. for $394 million.

Statoil said it had agreed to reduce its average WI — from 29% to 23% — on 515,000 acres in the southern part of the Marcellus. The deal is expected to close in 1Q2015.

“The transaction reduces Statoil’s non-operated holdings at an attractive price, demonstrating the value of the Marcellus assets,” said Torstein Hole, Statoil senior vice president and head of U.S. onshore operations. “Our new partnership with Southwestern Energy provides us with an opportunity to maximize the value of an important growth asset in our U.S. onshore portfolio. Southwestern is a very dynamic operator that will maximize the value and return.”

According to Statoil, the divested share of the acreage amounts to about 30,000 acres. The company’s 3Q2014 production from the Marcellus amounted to 130,500 boe/d, including about 4,000 boe/d from the assets involved in the transaction.

Last October, Chesapeake Energy Corp. agreed to sell 413,000 net acres and 1,500 wells in the dry portion of the Marcellus to Southwestern for $5.375 billion (see Shale Daily, Oct. 16).

“Statoil [has] agreed to give Chesapeake consent for [the] transaction with Southwestern,” Statoil said. “Statoil and Southwestern have now agreed to the partial sell-down of Statoil’s interest at an equivalent price to that agreed between Chesapeake and Southwestern.”

Statoil entered the Marcellus in 2008, after agreeing to a $3.38 billion partnership with Chesapeake to develop the latter’s leasehold in the play (see Shale Daily, Nov. 17, 2008).

The Norwegian company formed a joint venture over 97,000 net acres in the Eagle Ford Shale with Talisman Energy Inc. in 2010 (see Shale Daily, Oct. 12, 2010). Statoil gained access to the Williston Basin one year later, after acquiring Brigham Exploration Co. for $4.4 billion (see Shale Daily, Oct. 18, 2011).