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Statoil To Sell $96 Million In US Shale Assets

Statoil Rig

Norway’s Statoil said on Monday it would sell some of its non-operated U.S. shale interests in West Virginia to Antero Resources Corporation, in a bid to increase financial flexibility and free up capital for its core business.

Statoil will divest a net acreage of some 11,500 acres in the Wetzel, Tyler and Doddridge Counties for about US$96 million in cash, the Norwegian group noted, adding that it expected the deal to close by the end of the third quarter this year.

Statoil has a working interest of some 19 percent in the acreage subject to the sale, which is operated by Southwestern Energy Company.

The latest sale is Statoil’s third in the Marcellus shale acreage since the Norwegian oil major initially acquired a stake in the shale formation in 2008, when it entered the U.S. shale industry.

In late 2014, Statoil cut its working interest in its non-operated southern Marcellus asset to 23 percent from 29 percent, selling the stake to Southwestern Energy for US$394 million. Earlier this year, the Norwegian company sold its operated assets in West Virginia to EQT Corporation for US$407 million in cash.

Statoil, however, keeps its operated properties in Ohio and its some 350,000 net acre non-operated position.

Last week Statoil said it had agreed to buy a 66-percent stake in an offshore Petrobras field in the pre-salt layer worth US$2.5 billion. The Carcara field in the Campos Basin and is one of the biggest recent oil and gas discoveries in the world.

Just days before that deal announcement, Statoil reported a second-quarter net loss of US$300 million which disappointed analysts. The group attributed the loss to poor market conditions in both the upstream and downstream businesses.

The loss and the increase in debt prompted the company to slash capital expenditures. Statoil said that it would cut spending by 8 percent to US$12 billion, which will allow it to avoid cuts to its dividend, which like most other oil majors, is a high priority.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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