STAVANGER, Norway, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- For $96 million, and following a weak earnings report, Norwegian energy company Statoil said it was getting rid of some of its gas assets in the United States.
The Norwegian company holds about 350,000 net acres of the Marcellus shale natural gas basin, but decided to sell off about 11,500 acres of that to Antero Resources Corp.
"The U.S. business is one of the focus areas in Statoil's international strategy," Torgrim Reitan, a vice president in charge of U.S. production for Statoil, said in a written statement. "We will continue actively to manage the portfolio, optimize field developments, and step up efficiency improvements and cost reduction measures."
The Marcellus basin is one of the more lucrative reserve areas in the United States. A drilling productivity report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration finds total natural gas production is expected to increase slightly in August as more rigs enter the area.
Marcellus represents about 18 percent of total U.S. gas production and remains one of the more attractive shale basins in the United States.
The sale from the Marcellus shale is the third for Statoil in the past two years. In December 2014, the company sold off some of its interest in Marcellus for $394 million after suspending some rig work to save capital.
Last week, the company said its adjusted operating profit for the second quarter was $913 million, down from the $2.9 billion reported one year ago. Spending plans for 2016 were revised lower by $1 billion to $12 billion.