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Friday, January 31, 2014

Hess Announces Sale of 74,000 Utica Shale Acres; Aubrey McClendon the Buyer?

A Hess Corporation press release announced that the company has agreed to sell about 74,000 acres of its dry gas acreage in the Utica shale to a third party.  The press release did not disclose who bought the acreage.

However, the Wall Street Journal reports that it was Aubrey McClendon's new company, American Energy Partners LP:
American Energy Partners LP, led by Aubrey McClendon, continues to bulk up in Ohio’s Utica Shale, purchasing natural-gas fields from Hess Corp. for $924 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
Hess said Wednesday it struck an agreement to sell 74,000 acres in the Utica to an undisclosed buyer. The company has sold more than $7.8 billion in assets over the past year to raise cash and narrow its focus on growing oil output in the U.S.
Hess issued fourth-quarter financial results on Wednesday, reporting a profit of $1.93 billion, up from $374 million in the year-ago period. It will use the proceeds from the Utica sale to repurchase stock.
American Energy Partners said on Wednesday that an affiliate had raised $500 million to invest in wells across the country, but a spokesman for the company declined to comment on the Utica deal.
As that article mentioned, American Energy has raised another half billion in funding.  Bloomberg reports:
American Energy Partners LP, the energy company founded by former Chesapeake Energy Corp. CEO Aubrey McClendon, raised as much as $500 million through an affiliate to acquire stakes in U.S. onshore oil and natural gas deposits. 
The funds will be used to purchase non-operated working interests, the Oklahoma City-based company said today in a statement. Houston-based private-equity firm Energy & Minerals Group, led by John T. Raymond, is the exclusive private equity investor, with additional equity provided by management of the affiliate, known as American Energy - NonOp LLC.
You can view the entire Hess press release after the jump.


Hess Corporation Announces Sale of Utica Dry Gas Acreage
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 29, 2014-- Hess Corporation (NYSE: HES) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to sell approximately 74,000 acres of its dry gas acreage in the Utica Shale to an undisclosed third party for a consideration of $924 million. Approximately two-thirds of these proceeds are expected at the end of the first quarter of this year, with the balance to be received in the third quarter.
Proceeds from these sales will be used for additional share repurchases as they are in excess of those associated with the divestiture program announced by the Company on March 4 of last year. The Company will determine whether or not to seek an increase to its existing $4 billion share repurchase authorization, approved as part of its March 4 announcement, after a final decision is made either to spin or sell Hess Retail.
John B. Hess, Chief Executive Officer of Hess, said, “The sale of our Utica dry gas acreage is an example of our continued commitment to grow shareholder value through ongoing portfolio reshaping. While our wells in the dry gas portion of the Utica were highly productive, we concluded that the potential returns from such an investment, at current and projected natural gas prices, no longer justified retaining this acreage as a strategic part of our overall liquids-based asset portfolio.”
About Hess:
Hess Corporation is a leading global independent energy company engaged in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas. More information on Hess Corporation is available at http://www.hess.com.
Cautionary Statements
This news release contains projections and other forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These projections and statements reflect the company’s current views with respect to future events and financial performance. No assurances can be given, however, that these events will occur or that these projections will be achieved, and actual results could differ materially from those projected as a result of certain risk factors. A discussion of these risk factors is included in the company’s periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Source: Hess Corporation
For Hess Corporation
Investor Contact:
Jay Wilson
212-536-8940
or
Media Contact:
Sard Verbinnen & Co
Michael Henson/Patrick Scanlan
212-687-8080

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