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Shell Divests U.S. Onshore Gas Assets in Pinedale and Haynesville, Adds Acreage in Marcellus and Utica
Royal Dutch Shell plc (“Shell”) announces today two separate transactions whereby the company will exit its Pinedale and Haynesville onshore gas assets in exchange for approximately $2.1 billion of cash, plus additional acreage in the Marcellus and Utica Shale areas in Pennsylvania.
In one agreement with Ultra Petroleum, Shell will acquire 155,000 net acres in the Marcellus and Utica Shale areas in Pennsylvania and receive a cash payment of $0.925 billion from Ultra in exchange for 100 percent of Shell’s Pinedale asset in Wyoming, including associated gathering and processing contracts, subject to closing.
In a separate agreement with Vine Oil & Gas LP and its partner Blackstone, Shell has agreed to sell 100 percent of its Haynesville asset in Louisiana, including associated field facilities and infrastructure for $1.2 billion in cash, subject to closing.
“We continue to restructure and focus our North America shale oil and gas portfolio to deliver the most value in the longer term. With this announcement we are adding highly attractive exploration acreage, where we have impressive well results in the Utica, and divesting our more mature, Pinedale and Haynesville dry gas positions,” said Marvin Odum, Shell’s Upstream Americas Director.
The Shell net production from Pinedale in the second quarter 2014 was 190 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscf/d) of dry gas (32 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (kboe/d)). During the first half of 2014, Ultra’s net production from the assets Shell is acquiring in Pennsylvania averaged 109 mmscf/d (19 kboe/d).
“We first entered the Pinedale Anticline in 2001, and I am proud of our operational excellence, community engagement, and leadership in responsible energy development over that time,” said Odum.
Shell’s Pinedale asset (which includes 19,000 net acres of leasehold interest, 1,108 gross wells and associated facilities, and an average of 0.7 percent overriding royalty interest in 11,500 acres) will be exchanged for cash and Ultra’s 100 percent interest in the Marshlands area (63,000 net acres) as well as its entire interest (92,000 net acres) in the Tioga Area of Mutual Interest (AMI), an unincorporated joint venture with Shell. After completion of this transaction, Shell will have a 100 percent interest in the Tioga AMI. The agreement is effective 1 April 2014, and is expected to close this year.
Shell’s Haynesville asset includes 107,000 net acres in in north Louisiana. The transaction includes 418 producing wells, 193 of them operated by Shell. As of 1 July 2014, the gross production from the Haynesville asset was approximately 700 mmscf/d of dry gas, with Shell’s net working interest share at approximately 250 mmscf/d (43 kboe/d). The agreement is effective 1 July 2014, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.
“We very much appreciate the support we have had in north Louisiana, and we will continue to operate in the state, as we have for decades, through our downstream, retail, midstream, and New Orleans-based deep-water operations,” said Odum.
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Chesapeake Energy continues to see its legal battles compound over its royalty-payment practices. Already facing lawsuits in several different states and having been subpoenaed by the U.S. Department of Justice, StateImpact Pennsylvania reports that another government outfit is taking a legal interest in the company's royalty payment strategies: Chesapeake Energy has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Postal service, seeking information on its royalty practices, according to a regulatory filing. As StateImpact Pennsylvania has previously reported , the Oklahoma City-based driller faces a slew of disputes and complaints over how it pays royalties. We've posted articles in the past that looked at some of the questionable practices that Chesapeake has employed to reduce the amount of royalties it pays out to landowners. As a quick refresher, note how ProPublica reporter Abrahm Lustgarten shared some of the details in an article which we shared here on The Daily Digger in March