Statoil has agreed to reduce its working interest in the non-operated US southern Marcellus onshore asset from 29% to 23%, following a USD 394 million transaction with Southwestern Energy (the “transaction”).
“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 US onshore head. “Our new partnership with Southwestern Energy provides us with an opportunity to maximise the value of an important growth asset in our US onshore portfolio. Southwestern is a very dynamic operator that will maximise the value and return.”
The divested share of the Southern Marcellus represents approximately 30,000 acres. Statoil’s 2014 third quarter production from the Marcellus play amounted to 130,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day, of which approximately 4,000 barrels came from the assets included in the transaction. Southwestern is an experienced operator in the development and production of US onshore unconventionals. It announced the acquisition of Chesapeake Energy’s holdings in the Southern Marcellus asset on 16 October 2014.
Statoil have agreed to give Chesapeake consent for their transaction with Southwestern. 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 and Southwestern have put in place a new joint development agreement. Following the transaction, Statoil will hold around 23% of the underlying non-operated Southern Marcellus assets. The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2015.
"I am delighted that we have concluded this important transaction with Southwestern despite the turbulence in today's energy markets," said John Knight, executive vice president for Global Strategy and Business Development at Statoil.
The transaction confirms the attractiveness of US unconventionals and the significant value created in developing the assets.
Statoil has established a strong acreage foothold in US unconventionals since entering the Marcellus in a joint venture with Chesapeake in 2008.
After initial entry into the Marcellus in 2008, Statoil entered into the Eagle Ford in 2010, acquired Brigham Exploration in Bakken in 2011 and the Marcellus-operated acreage acquisition in 2012.
Since 2011, Statoil have been transitioning from a non-operator to an established unconventional operator and today its portfolio includes operated positions in each of these assets.