Statoil buys up $590 million in Marcellus property - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Statoil buys up $590 million in Marcellus property

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Map courtesy of Statoil Map courtesy of Statoil
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    After early complaints that out-of-state firms got the most jobs, some local construction trade workers and union members in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia say they're now benefiting in a big way from the Marcellus and Utica Shale oil and gas boom.That vocal support from blue-collar workers complicates efforts by environmentalists to limit the drilling process known as fracking.
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A new company is taking up a major stake in the Marcellus shale gas play in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Statoil, a Norwegian energy company, announced in a news release that it acquired about 70,000 acres in the natural gas liquids rich region of the Marcellus shale in Tyler, Harrison, Doddridge, Marshall, Marion, Taylor, Lewis and Wetzel counties in West Virginia and in Ohio's Monroe County and Pennsylvania's Greene County.

The total transaction, a release from the company states, was $590 million and was purchased in an all-cash deal. The acquisition included a gathering system.

"The U.S. unconventional plays hold a substantial resource base and represent an increasingly important part of future energy supplies," said Torstein Hole, a senior vice president at Statoil. "Statoil is further strengthening its U.S. onshore portfolio by acquiring additional acreage in the valuable liquid rich parts of the Marcellus shale in Ohio and West Virginia."

According to its announcement, the company has been involved in activities in the Marcellus Shale region since 2008 via a partnership with Chesapeake Energy Corp. The most recent move was announced as part of Statoil's strategy  to pursue a "targeted and stepwise growth strategy" and expand its operations in onshore U.S. energy.

The company already has significant investments in the liquid-rich portions of the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas and the Bakken and Three Forks shale plays in North Dakota and Montana.

"Statoil was an early entrant into shale and has over time built a diversified portfolio in some of the most attractive oil, gas and liquid rich areas," Hole said. "We are already operator in Bakken, we are on schedule to become operator in Eagle Ford next year and with this transaction Statoil will become operator also in Marcellus. We will then be operator in all our significant US shale plays."

Locating in the liquids-rich portion of the plays, Statoil announced, would help avoid the narrower profit margins of the drier, more pure methane gas regions of the Marcellus.

The government of Norway owns more than two-thirds of shares in Statoil, one of the top 20 global oil and gas companies by revenues.

According to the Associated Press, the acreage was purchased from unlisted companies Grenadier Energy Partners, Protege Energy Partners, Protege Energy and PetroEdge Energy.