Industry Briefs

Southwestern Energy acquires Marcellus properties from Chesapeake

Southwestern Energy Co. has agreed to acquire natural gas properties located in Pennsylvania prospective for the Marcellus Shale from Chesapeake Energy Corp. and its partners for approximately $93 million. The $575 per acre price tag is "seemingly cheap compared to historical comps," said Jefferies LLC analysts in a note to investors. While not many deals have been seen in the Marcellus lately, acreage in northeast Pennsylvania was going for $1,500-$5,000 per acre in 2011, they said. "So comparatively, SWN seems to be acquiring acreage at a cheap price. However, a review of permitting data shows that much of the acreage is outside of the current development fairway," the analysts continued. Upon closing, Southwestern Energy will have close to 337,000 net acres in the Marcellus.

Gastar Exploration resolves litigation, acquires Mid-Continent assets

Gastar Exploration Ltd. has agreed to acquire proven reserves and undeveloped leasehold interests in Kingfisher and Canadian counties, Oklahoma from Chesapeake Energy Corp., repurchase Chesapeake's common shares of the company and settle all litigation for $85 million. The acquisition includes drilling rights in approximately 157,000 net acres that adjoin Gastar's existing Mid-Continent acreage and approximately 2.8 MMBoe of proven reserves. Roughly half of the acquired acreage lies within what the company expects to be the most prospective area for horizontal drilling of the Hunton Limestone formation. Included in the transaction are 176 producing wells (half to be operated by Gastar) with an estimated present value of proved reserves (discounted at 10% using NYMEX futures pricing as of March 8, 2013) of $32.4 million, which holds approximately 19% of the acreage by production. Current net daily production is approximately 177 bbls of crude oil, 54 bbls of NGLs and 3.5 MMcf of natural gas. Net proved reserves associated with the transaction include 494,269 barrels of oil, 270,508 barrels of natural gas liquids (NGLs) and 12.5 bcf of natural gas, for a total of 2.8 MMboe. In conjunction with the acquisition, Gastar agreed to repurchase from Chesapeake 6,781,768 shares of Gastar common stock (approximately 9.9% of Gastar's total outstanding common shares) at a price of $1.44 per share based on a 20 day moving average price as of Friday, March 22, which represents 100% of Chesapeake's holdings in Gastar. In addition, Gastar and Chesapeake have agreed to settle all current litigation between the two companies, conditioned upon the closing of the stock purchase. Chesapeake filed a lawsuit against Gastar in October 2012 in US District Court for the Southern District of Texas seeking rescission of certain 2005 transactions with Gastar and reimbursement of additional well costs stated to have been expended by them. The transactions are expected to be funded from a combination of Gastar's available borrowings under its revolving credit facility, proceeds from the possible sale of East Texas assets and the issuance of debt or preferred stock.

Hornbeck Offshore closes $450M private placement

Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc. closed the sale of $450 million principal amount of 5.000% Senior Notes due 2021 in a private placement. The company used the net proceeds to repurchase approximately 93.85% of its outstanding $250 million principal amount of 8.000% Senior Notes due 2017 pursuant to its previously announced tender offer and consent solicitation. The remaining net proceeds will be used to repurchase or redeem approximately 6.15% of the 8.000% Senior Notes due 2017 that remain outstanding and for general corporate purposes. Simmons & Company International served as a co-manager on the debt offering.

Rex Energy increases borrowing base to $325M

Rex Energy Corp. has entered into an amended and restated credit agreement to expand its borrowing base under the company's senior secured credit facility from $240 million to $325 million. In addition, the company has extended the maturity of the senior secured credit facility from September 2015 to March 2018. Commitments by the bank group under the facility were raised from $240 million to $300 million, a 25% increase. The $300 million commitment level can be increased to $325 million at the company's request for additional bank commitments. The bank group is comprised of KeyBank NA, which continues to lead and serve as Administrative Agent of the facility; Royal Bank of Canada; SunTrust Bank; Bank of Montreal; Capital One NA; Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company; Wells Fargo Bank NA; US Bank National Associates; and Union Bank NA.

Royal Bank of Canada acquires Athena Energy Group

Royal Bank of Canada has acquired the Athena Energy Group, a natural gas supplier in Quebec. The acquisition expands RBC Capital Markets' existing business, which offers structured pricing for natural gas supply, from Ontario into Quebec. Terms were not disclosed. The Athena Energy Group was a privately-held business headquartered in St. Leonard, Quebec, consisting of two sister companies, Athena Energy Marketing Inc. and Athena Energy Services Inc. Effective immediately, the Quebec natural gas structured contracts business is renamed and will operate as RBC Natural Gas Services Inc.

LoneStar Geophysical Surveys opens new branch office in Houston

Edmond, OK-based LoneStar Geophysical Surveys, a professional seismic data acquisition company, has opened a new branch office in Houston, TX to offer a more specialized service for US operations in the oil and gas industry. Just few months prior, LoneStar Geophysical Surveys employed R. Doak Anderson to lead the team for account representation for the Houston branch. Privately-held LoneStar Geophysical Surveys is headquartered in Edmond, Oklahoma. The company acquires seismic data and provides other diversified services and products to the oil and gas exploration industry. In addition to company's seismic data capability, LoneStar provides permitting, surveying, project design and environmental and physical site solutions.

Plains All American to build pipeline for Permian crude oil takeaway

Plains All American Pipeline LP is constructing the Cactus Pipeline, a new 310-mile, 20-inch crude oil pipeline from McCamey to Gardendale, Texas. The Cactus Pipeline is expected to be placed into service in the first quarter of 2015. The partnership has entered into a letter of intent with a third party regarding a long-term commitment for a majority of the pipeline's capacity and is in discussions with several potential shippers for the remaining capacity. The total project investment is expected to range from $350 million to $375 million. The pipeline is expected to transport both sweet and sour crude oil from the Permian Basin to the PAA/Enterprise Products Partners Eagle Ford Joint Venture (Eagle Ford JV) Pipeline. The Eagle Ford JV Pipeline directly serves the Three Rivers and Corpus Christi markets and can supply the Houston-area market through a connection to the Enterprise South Texas Crude Oil Pipeline. Crude oil delivered on Cactus will have access to rail loading capacity at PAA's Gardendale station and access to the Eagle Ford JV barge dock facility in the Corpus Christi area. The Cactus Pipeline will initially be designed to provide approximately 200,000 barrels-per-day of capacity and can be increased as demand warrants.

NEAH Energy to locate executive offices in NYC

Newco Energy Acquisition Holdings LLC (NEAH Energy), an energy-related asset and industrial services acquisition firm, will locate its executive offices in New York City. NEAH's senior investment staff including its chief investment officer, CFO, transaction and analytical staff will be located in New York City, while senior partners and operational staff will reside in various locations globally.

Maverick Brothers Energy gets $35M in equity capital from Post Oak Energy

Post Oak Energy Capital LP, through investment partnerships it manages, has commitment of $35 million in equity capital to privately held exploration and production company Maverick Brothers Energy LLC. Funding from the commitment will be used for Enid, Oklahoma-based Maverick's captive drilling program and acreage acquisitions. Post Oak funded $12 million at closing, with the remaining $23 million available to support future development activities on leasehold acreage and other growth initiatives. Maverick has accumulated a contiguous acreage position of more than 10,000 gross acres in Dewey County, Oklahoma and has completed four horizontal gas wells in the Mississippian Osage formation. Maverick's leadership team includes Bret Brickman, president and CEO, and Bart Brickman, vice president.

Falcon Energy contracts Keppel for $226M rig

Keppel FELS Ltd. (Keppel FELS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) has secured a contract from Singapore-listed Falcon Energy Group Ltd. (Falcon Energy) through its subsidiary, FTS Derricks, to construct a KFELS Super B Class jackup. Customized to Falcon Energy's requirements, the KFELS Super B Class jackup is equipped with a high capacity hook load of two million pounds for operations in high temperature and high pressure wells. Developed by Keppel O&M's technology arm, Offshore Technology Development, the KFELS B Class/Super B Class jackup design is designed to provide maximum uptime with reduced emissions and discharges.

ArcLight Capital acquires American Midstream

High Point Infrastructure Partners LP, a portfolio company of ArcLight Capital Partners LLC, has acquired 90% of American Midstream GP LLC, the general partner of American Midstream, and 100% of the subordinated units of American Midstream, from AIM Midstream Holdings LLC, an affiliate of American Infrastructure MLP Funds LP. The transaction is valued at $90 million. Latham & Watkins LLP advised ArcLight in the transaction.

Trilantic, Riverstone make upstream oil and gas investment

Private equity firms Trilantic Capital Partners and Riverstone Holdings have invested in Trail Ridge Energy Partners II, a newly-formed oil and gas exploration and production company focused primarily in the Permian Basin in West Texas. Trail Ridge will be led by CEO Ron D. Wade, a petroleum engineer and experienced oil and gas entrepreneur. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Stifel Nicolaus acted as exclusive financial advisor to Trail Ridge with respect to the financing. Latham & Watkins LLP advised Trilantic in the investment.

RPS Group acquires Knowledge Reservoir

Knowledge Reservoir, a global energy consulting company, has been acquired by RPS Group plc (RPS). RPS is a global, multi-disciplinary consultancy providing advice upon the exploration and production of oil and gas and other natural resources; and the development and management of the built and natural environment. Listed on the London Stock Exchange, RPS employs more than 5,000 people in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Africa, the Middle East Australia and Asia. The acquisition of Knowledge Reservoir by RPS creates an enlarged geoscience and engineering consulting. The new organization will be known as RPS Knowledge Reservoir. Dr. Ivor Ellul and the Knowledge Reservoir management team, along with all current staff, will remain with the business which will continue to operate from its existing office locations.

Lighthouse Petroleum enters JV with Matmown Oil & Gas

Lighthouse Petroleum Inc., a growth oriented energy company focusing on the exploration and production of oil and gas, has entered into a joint venture agreement with Matmown Oil and Gas Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Matmown Inc. Matmown will be the operator in the joint venture relationship, and expects to workover several existing wells during the coming quarters. The new joint venture will be managed under standard industry terms, and will relate to acreage currently held by Matmown Oil and Gas Inc., or acreage to be acquired in the future. Matmown Inc. has subsidiaries in the United States and South America. The US-based subsidiary has offices in Texas and is engaged in the oil and gas exploration and production business.

Clariant Oil to acquire Champion Technologies' deepwater GoM assets

Complementary to its strategy to develop deep water solutions and grow its operations in North America, Clariant Oil Services has agreed to acquire certain Gulf of Mexico assets from Ecolab Inc. Financial details were not disclosed. The divestment of the assets by Ecolab was a prerequisite by the US Department of Justice for the approval of the acquisition of Champion Technologies. Clariant is entering into a series of agreements with Champion related to its deepwater Gulf of Mexico business. The acquired assets include Champion Technologies' oil and gas production chemicals services in the deep water Gulf of Mexico. "This acquisition is synergistic with our decision to expand Clariant's deep water business and grow our Oil Services operations in North America, building upon our investment strategy in the US," said John Dunne, senior vice president, Clariant Oil & Mining Services. According to its website, Clariant Oil Services treats an estimated one-third of the oil produced in the deepwater market, including some of the world's harshest offshore regions.

San Leon Energy awarded additional Spanish onshore exploration licences

San Leon Energy has been awarded two new exploration licences in Spain. The two new licences, Aquiles and Cronos, have been granted to Frontera Energy, San Leon's wholly owned subsidiary, by the Spanish Council of Ministers. The Aquiles Licence, which is located in the Zaragoza and Navarro regions, covers 252,927 acres of the Zaragoza Basin. The Cronos Licence, which is situated in the Soria and Guadalajara regions, covers 239,596 acres in the Almazan Basin. Both licences contain unconventional Paleozoic resource potential where the company is targeting Permian, Carboniferous, Silurian and Devonian shales. Historical well data and geochemical data from nearby outcrops show the potential for a sizeable unconventional play. The company also sees potential for conventional targets in shallower sections within the licences. The licences have been granted for a period of six years and divided into three two-year stages. These are the second and third licences to be granted to San Leon Energy in Spain, following the grant of the Geminis and Libra licences in the Cantabrian Basin. The company now holds 704,351 acres under licence in Spain.

StealthGas prices public offering

Athens, Greece-based StealthGas Inc. has priced its previously announced public offering of 10,000,000 shares of common stock at $10.00 per share.An entity controlled by the family of the company's president and CEO has agreed to purchase 500,000 of the shares sold in the offering. The company has also granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1,500,000 shares. A portion of the net proceeds are expected to partially fund the acquisition of five vessels, including three secondhand LPG carriers and two newbuilding LPG carriers. The company intends to use the remaining net proceeds for capital expenditures, including vessel acquisitions, and for other general corporate purposes. Wells Fargo Securities and Deutsche Bank Securities are acting as joint book-running managers and Global Hunter Securities, Clarkson Capital Markets and Evercore Partners are acting as co-managers for the offering.

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Empire O&G appoints Aitken as CEO

Tue, Apr 1, 2014

Empire Oil & Gas NL has appointed Ken Aitken as chief executive. Aitken is experienced in Western Australia’s oil and gas industry, in particular the Perth Basin, which hosts Empire’s assets.

Empire O&G withdraws from EP 437 in Perth Basin

Tue, Apr 1, 2014

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Tap Oil and partners to drill in Myanmar Block M07

Thu, Mar 27, 2014

Tap Oil Ltd. reported has been notified by the Myanmar Ministry of Energy (MOE) of the successful award of a production sharing contract for shallow-water Block M07 in the Moattama Basin, offshore Myanmar.

Cooper Energy reports new gas play discovered in South Australia

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