Marcellus/Utica Briefs

American Energy to buy acreage in Northeast

American Energy Partners LP has signed agreements worth $1.75 billion that will increase its acreage positions in the Marcellus and Utica shales.

In the Utica deal, subsidiary American Energy-Utica LLC (AEU) agreed to purchase 27,000 net acres of leasehold in Monroe County, Ohio, from East Resources Inc., a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell. The leasehold is in the emerging dry gas core of the play in the southeastern part of the state. The properties are expected to produce 40 MMcfd of gas-equivalent (MMcfe/d) net at closing.

The purchase will be AEU's seventh acquisition in the Utica shale and will increase its net leasehold in the play to 280,000 net acres. AEU has invested $3.5 billion in the Utica and plans to drill approximately 2,600 gross (1,560 net) wells on its acreage in the years ahead.

Separate deals were also signed by American Energy Partners' subsidiary American Energy-Marcellus LLC (AEM). AEM agreed to purchase 48,000 net acres of leasehold prospective to the Marcellus shale in Doddridge, Harrison, Marion, Tyler, and Wetzel counties, W. Va., from East Resources and an unnamed private company.

At closing, net production from the Marcellus leasehold is expected to average 135 MMcfed. The deal marks AEM's entrance into the southern portion of the shale play and establishes a foundation from which it plans to build a larger leasehold position. AEM expects to drill 410 gross (355 net) wells on its acreage.

American Energy Partners was founded in April 2013 by Aubrey McClendon, former chief executive officer of Chesapeake Energy Corp. Chesapeake is the largest acreage holder and most active driller in the Utica shale.

American Energy Partners has six affiliate companies: AEU, AEM, American Energy-Woodford LLC, American Energy-Permian Basin LLC, American Energy-NonOp LLC, and American Energy-Midstream LLC, which was formed in June with The Energy & Minerals Group. The Utica and Marcellus shale deals are expected to close by early August.

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