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Shell makes grab for Marcellus, Utica shale

Output from eastern U.S. shale "impressive," company says.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Aug. 14, 2014 at 9:59 AM
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HOUSTON, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Shell said Thursday it was offloading some of its U.S. assets to shift its focus to the Marcellus and emerging Utica shale natural gas reserves in the country.

"We continue to restructure and focus our North America shale oil and gas portfolio to deliver the most value in the longer term," Upstream Director Marvin Odum said in a statement. "With this announcement we are adding highly attractive exploration acreage, where we have impressive well results in the Utica [shale]."

Shell said it sold its entire stake in the Pinedale reserve area in Wyoming to Ultra Petroleum in exchange for $925 million and 155,000 net acres in the Marcellus and Utica basins in Pennsylvania.

Shell pulled 190 million cubic feet per day of natural gas from Pinedale in the second half of 2014. Ultra produced a net 109 million cubic feet per day from the eastern U.S. natural gas reserve areas.

In a separate deal, Shell sold its holdings in the Haynesville basin in Louisiana to Vine Oil & Gas and its partner Blackstone for $1.2 billion in cash. Shell produced a gross 700 million cubic feet of gas per day in Haynesville in the first half of the year.

The Marcellus shale is the most productive basin of its kind in the United States. While production is below Marcellus, drilling productivity in the Utica shale basin has outpaced others in the region, including Marcellus.

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