Ultra Petroleum Sells Its 72K Marcellus Acres to Alta Res. for $115M

Ultra Petroleum, based in Houston, TX, is an independent exploration and production (E&P) company mainly focused on drilling in the Green River Basin of Wyoming. Ultra also drills for oil in the Uinta Basin/Three Rivers area in Utah. In addition, Ultra maintains a “non-operated” (someone else does the drilling) position in the Pennsylvania Marcellus shale with leases on 72,000 net acres–no small amount. As recently as May of this year Ultra CEO Michael Watford signaled that the Marcellus acreage is not a drain on their budget, so they would just hold on to it and see what happens (see Ultra Petroleum 1Q17 – Holding on to 72K Marcellus Acres, for Now). What happened is the company saw an opportunity to cash in that acreage, and the wells producing on it, for $115 million in cold, hard cash that they can use elsewhere. Ultra announced a deal yesterday to sell all of their Marcellus acreage/wells, mostly located in Centre and Clinton counties in north-central PA, to Alta Resources. Alta is not a name we’ve seen a lot, but they were one of the first drillers we wrote about just after starting the MDN website back in 2009 (see Texas Billionaire George Mitchell is Betting on the Marcellus in PA). George Mitchell, widely recognized as the father of shale energy, was a partner in Alta and had glowing things to say about the Marcellus. Mitchell died in 2013. His legacy lives on. According to Alta’s website, the company has drilled or participated in more than a thousand wells–in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Pennsylvania and Alberta, Canada. The most recent news related to Alta in our area, prior to yesterday’s announcement, was their purchase of Anadarko’s Marcellus assets for $1.24 billion in December 2016 (see Anadarko Sells All Marcellus Assets for $1.24B to Alta Resources). Seems like December is the month to watch for an Alta purchase in the Marcellus!…
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Anadarko Sells All Marcellus Assets for $1.24B to Alta Resources

One of the country’s largest oil drillers is calling it quits in the Marcellus natural gas play. Earlier today Anadarko announced it has cut a deal to sell all of its Marcellus acreage and wells to Alta Resources for $1.24 billion. The deal is big, including 195,000 acres and daily production from wells that averages 470 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d). That’s the news you’ll get everywhere else. Here’s the part of the story you’ll read exclusively here on MDN: Anadarko has a partner in the Marcellus–Mitsui–which is also selling their interest in the PA Marcellus to Alta, for $207 million. Also, background on the deal you won’t read anywhere else: Alta was an early investor in the Marcellus, but sold out all of their acreage in 2010. Now they’re back. Anadarko and Mitsui sold for far less than the acreage was valued at in 2010–we’d call it getting taken to the cleaners. MDN sorts it all out below…
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Susquehanna River Basin Commission Approves 26 Applications for Water Use

At a recent meeting of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission held in Scranton, PA, the group approved 26 applications to use water from the Susquehanna River watershed for drilling in the Marcellus Shale deposit. At the meeting, the Commission imposed new rules about posting signs at sites along rivers and creeks where water is drawn for use in drilling.

Among the permits approved by the commission, according to the Susquehanna Independent Weekend, is permission for ALTA Operating “to draw up to 3 million gallons per day from the Susquehanna River and 99,000 gallons per day from Snake Creek, both in Susquehanna County.”

Read the full article: New rules for gas drillers

Texas Billionaire George Mitchell is Betting on the Marcellus in PA

According to the Forth Worth, TX Star-Telegram:

George P. Mitchell, the billionaire who pioneered development of shale gas in the Barnett formation of North Texas, is betting that the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania will be similarly prolific.

The 89-year-old oilman…said he expects Marcellus to be a “big boom” to Pennsylvania, birthplace of the U.S. oil industry. The natural gas prospect may stretch across about half the state, he said.

“Pennsylvania looks like a hell of a play, and I can’t understand how in 150 years we found it just now,” Mitchell said Wednesday in an interview at his office in downtown Houston. “Pennsylvania is a tough play right now, but I think in my geological opinion, it has tremendous potential.”

The article also says that Mitchell is providing backing for Alta Resources to drill in the Marcellus. Alta is right now investing in 45,000 acres in the Marcellus region.

Read the full article: Barnett Shale pioneer now betting on Pennsylvania shale