US transactions rise in past month

Two of the larger deals from mid-October to mid-November were the Chevron Corp. acquisition of Atlas Energy for $4.3 billion ($3.2 billion in cash and the assumption of about $1.1 billion in debt) and Newfield Exploration's purchase and sale agreement with EOG Resources in which Newfield acquired about 50,000 net acres in the Marcellus Shale in a transaction valued at roughly $405 million.

Read more about both transactions and the significance of each in this month's Upstream News, beginning on p. 10. Therefore, we will move on to other deals in this edition of Deal Monitor.

In another large transaction, Houston-based EnerVest Ltd. and its affiliated partnerships, including EV Energy Partners LP, agreed to purchase certain Barnett Shale properties from privately-held Talon Oil & Gas LLC, a Dallas-based E&P company, for $967 million. The deal is expected to close before the end of the fourth quarter.

The majority of the 20,207 gross acres are in the core of the Barnett Shale in north Texas, and the properties produce 87 MMcfe/d from 212 active wells, with 1.1 tcfe in reserves.

"We are excited to add the Barnett Shale as our fourth core operating area, joining the Austin Chalk, the San Juan Basin, and Ohio," said John B. Walker, EnerVest president and CEO. "The production from these wells is 29% natural gas liquids/71% natural gas, and we plan to maintain an active drilling program."

On Oct. 25, Japan's Marubeni Corp. agreed to pay $650 million for stakes held by a unit of BP in four oil and natural gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico. Marubeni will buy the production interests held by BP Exploration & Production in the Nansen, Magnolia, Merganser, and Zia wells, which can produce a total of 15,000 boe/day.

BP is looking to sell up to $30 billion in assets to pay for costs related to the largest accidental oil spill in history.

In another Gulf of Mexico sale involving a large international oil company, W&T Energy VI, a subsidiary of Houston-based W&T Offshore Inc., will pay $450 million for Royal Dutch Shell's interest in six GoM fields. Shell says the sale is part of its plan to shed up to $8 billion in assets this year and next to invest in growth opportunities.

The acquired interests are in the Tahoe, SE Tahoe, Marlin, Dorado, and Droshky fields located in the deepwater GoM. The sixth field is a shelf property along with associated assets. Combined production, net to Shell's interest, in the six fields is currently about 6,840 barrels of oil per day and 69.8 MMcf of natural gas per day, or roughly 18,000 boe/day.

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