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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chesapeake Sells Off Almost 25% of Utica/Marcellus Operation

Southwestern Energy has acquired 413,000 acres of Marcellus and Utica shale assets from Chesapeake Energy in a $5.375 billion transaction.  Here are the announcements from the two companies.

First, Southwestern Energy:
Southwestern Energy Co., Houston, has agreed to acquire assets in the southern Marcellus shale and a portion of the eastern Utica shale in West Virginia from Chesapeake Energy Corp., Oklahoma City, for $5.375 billion.
The deal, expected to close in the fourth quarter, encompasses 413,000 net acres and 1,500 wells in northern West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania along with related property, plant, and equipment. Average working interest in the properties is 67.5%.
Of a total of 435 horizontal wells, 256 are operated and producing in the Marcellus and Utica and an additional 179 are nonoperated or nonproducing in the Marcellus and Utica.
Net production in September totaled 336 MMcfd of gas equivalent, of which 55% is gas, 36% are NGLs, and 9% is oil. As of Dec. 31, 2013, net proved reserves associated with these properties totaled 221 million boe.
Southwestern Energy will assume a portion of Chesapeake’s firm transportation and processing capacity commitments. Based on capacity and expected future commitments, the company’s preliminary plans are to begin with 4-6 rigs next year and increase to 11 rigs by 2017.
Southwestern Energy estimates that it can drill for a minimum of 20 years maintaining that 11-rig pace. By yearend 2017, the reserve mix for the company is estimated to be one-third each for the Fayetteville, northeast Marcellus, and the newly acquired West Virginia and Pennsylvania properties, compared with two-thirds for the Fayetteville and one-third northeast Marcellus as of the day the deal took place.
Southwestern previously purchased 162,000 net acres in the Marcellus from Chesapeake for $93 million, giving Southwestern Energy 337,000 net acres in the play upon closing of the deal (OGJ Online, Apr. 30, 2013). Earlier this year, Southwestern Energy agreed to purchase 312,000 net acres in the Niobrara shale from Quicksilver Resources Inc. and Swepi LP, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC, for $180 million (OGJ Online, Mar. 7, 2014).
Doug Lawler, Chesapeake’s chief executive officer, commented on the sale from his company’s perspective, “It’s important to note that this transaction has no impact on our expected growth profile or on our views around maintaining a disciplined capital program. We expect our full-year production guidance for 2015 to remain in the range of 7-10% growth from 2014 levels adjusted for asset sales.”
As of May, the total value of sales and divestitures for the year made by Chesapeake totaled more than $4 billion (OGJ Online, May 16, 2014).
Next, from Chesapeake Energy:

Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) announced that it has executed a Purchase and Sale Agreement to sell assets in the Southern Marcellus Shale and a portion of the Eastern Utica Shale in West Virginia to Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE:SWN) (“Southwestern”) for aggregate proceeds of $5.375 billion. The transaction, which is subject to certain customary closing conditions, including the receipt of third-party consents, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Chesapeake has agreed to sell approximately 413,000 net acres and approximately 1,500 wells in Northern West Virginia and Southern Pennsylvania, of which 435 are in the Marcellus and Utica formations, along with related property, plant and equipment. Average net daily production from these properties was approximately 56,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) during the month of September, consisting of 184,000 Mcf of gas, 20,000 barrels of natural gas liquids and 5,000 barrels of condensate. As of December 31, 2013, net proved reserves associated with these properties were approximately 221 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe).
Doug Lawler, Chesapeake’s Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Today’s announcement marks a major step in Chesapeake’s transformation and a dramatic improvement in our financial strength as we seek to maximize value for our shareholders. Earlier this year, we committed to unlocking the significant value inherent in this asset, recognizing the disconnect of its perceived value within our portfolio. It’s important to note that this transaction has no impact on our expected growth profile or on our views around maintaining a disciplined capital program. We expect our full-year production guidance for 2015 to remain in the range of 7-10% growth from 2014 levels adjusted for asset sales. I am very proud of the efforts that our Southern Marcellus team and all of our employees have put into building and developing our assets and creating value for our company. We look forward to deploying the proceeds from this significant transaction in ways that will continue to drive even greater shareholder value.”

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