Oklahoma City oil and gas explorer Chesapeake Energy Corp. said Wednesday that it agreed to sell most of its oil and gas properties and infrastructure assets in West Texas' and New Mexico's Permian Basin and other areas to Royal Dutch Shell plc, Chevron Corp. and Global Infrastructure Partners and other unnamed buyers for $6.9 billion in cash, easing its way toward cutting its enormous debt load and making up for a $10 billion year-end funding shortfall.
The properties produced 21,000 barrels of liquids and 90 million cubic feet of natural gas per day in the second quarter, or 5.7% of Chesapeake's production. Chesapeake said it would use part of the proceeds to repay $4 billion in term loans in the fourth quarter.
Analysts at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities Inc. wrote in a report Wednesday that the sale is in line with the company's previous guidance of $7 billion in asset sales by the fourth quarter. But the report also noted it sold less of its exploration and production assets -- $3.3 billion, "light of our expectation at $3.9B" -- and more of its infrastructure, or midstream assets, which was $3 billion versus the $2 billion expected by the analysts. Plus, the analysts said, they had expected the company's noncore Utica/Woodbine properties to fetch $750 million as opposed to the $600 million sale price.
However, Chesapeake is keeping 470,000 net acres in the Midland Basin for possible sale.
As for the buyers, the analysts said Chevron wasn't a surprise, as it has owned properties in the Permian for years, but Shell was, as it wasn't thought to have much exposure to the area. They said Shell is getting the properties at $1,000 per acre, assuming $50,000 per day of production.
The properties were expected to attract area operators such as Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Clayton Williams Energy Inc., the billionaire Bass family of Fort Worth, Pioneer Natural Resources Co., Concho Resources Inc., Devon Energy Corp. and Approach Resources Inc.
Chesapeake is selling its properties in the southern Delaware Basin portion of the Permian Basin to SWEPI LP, a unit of Shell, and its properties in the northern Delaware Basin portion of the Permian Basin to Chevron unit Chevron USA Inc. It already agreed to sell its producing assets in the Midland Basin portion of the Permian Basin to affiliates of EnerVest Ltd. of Houston.
Chesapeake expects to close the transactions with Shell, Chevron and EnerVest in the next 30 days and receive 87% of the proceeds in cash at closing. The rest will be subject to certain title, environmental and other contingencies.
Chesapeake said it's agreed to sell almost all of its midstream assets in three separate transactions and expects to enter into a fourth agreement that will bring in $3 billion. The buyers include Global Infrastructure Partners, which is picking up most of the midstream assets owned by unit Chesapeake Midstream Development LP for $2.7 billion, including gathering and processing systems in the Eagle Ford, Utica, Haynesville and Powder River Basin Niobrara shale plays and other assets.
Chesapeake also sold or entered agreements with two other unnamed companies for its Mid-Continent midstream assets and expects to enter into a fourth agreement to sell some of its oil gathering assets in the Eagle Ford Shale for $300 million.
The midstream transactions are expected to close in the third and fourth quarters.
Combined with the previous $2 billion sale of its limited and general partnership interests in Access Midstream Partners LP, formerly known as Chesapeake Midstream Partners LP, this past June for $2 billion, Chesapeake said its proceeds from its midstream exit will be $5 billion.
Chesapeake also said it's sold or agreed to sell noncore leasehold assets in the Utica Shale and various other areas in four separate transactions for $600 million, most of which has already been received. Chesapeake will continue to own 1.3 million net acres of leasehold in the Utica Shale, where it has a joint venture with Total SA.
Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon said the $6.9 billion in net proceeds on top of $4.7 billion of previously closed sales will bring the company's divestitures this year to $11.6 billion, or 85% of its goal of $13 billion to $14 billion, which it expects to achieve by year's end.
"These transactions are significant steps in the transformation of our company's asset base to a more balanced portfolio among oil, natural gas liquids and natural gas resources and production by focusing on developing and harvesting the value embedded in the 10 core plays in which Chesapeake has built a No. 1 or No. 2 position," he said.
Jefferies & Co.'s Ralph Eads, Ajay Khurana and Peter Bowden and Goldman, Sachs & Co. advised Chesapeake on the Permian Basin asset sales and the sale of the midstream assets to GIP.