Atlas Energy Talking to Reliance Industries About Marcellus Shale Partnership – Billion Dollar Deal in the Making?

As MDN reported on Feb. 24, Atlas Energy is looking for a partner to help fund its operations in the Marcellus Shale. They may have found one, Indian energy giant Reliance Industries:

Reliance Industries Ltd., the owner of the world’s largest fuel-making complex, is in talks with Atlas Energy Inc. to invest in the U.S. natural-gas producer’s shale assets, a person familiar with the negotiations said.

The talks between Reliance, controlled by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, and Moon Township, Pennsylvania-based Atlas are in preliminary stages, the person said yesterday, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private.*

The deal is likely to be worth several billion dollars, if recent deals are any indicator: CONSOL’s impending purchase of Dominion’s Marcellus Shale operations for $3.475 billion; Mitsui’s investment of $1.4 billion in Anadarko earlier this year; and Statoil’s investment of $3.4 billion in Chesapeake last year. If the Reliance/Atlas deal pans out and fetches the same rate of $14,000 per acre investment that the Mitsui/Anadarko deal did, it would be a $3.7 billion deal—the largest Marcellus deal yet.

*Bloomberg (Mar 16) – Reliance Said to Be in Talks With Atlas to Buy Shale Gas Assets