A fledgling Texas company has struck a $125 million deal to acquire acreage in east Texas from Chesapeake Energy Corp.
Fort Worth-based Energy & Exploration Partners Inc. acknowledged the pending deal Monday in a regulatory filing.
A Chesapeake spokesman declined to comment on the deal, which Energy & Exploration Partners expects to close in the fourth quarter, according to its filing in advance of a planned initial public offering.
Chesapeake has spent much of 2012 trying to sell assets to cover budget shortfalls that could reach as high as $22 billion. The Oklahoma City-based company has announced about $4.7 billion this year, including the sale of its former midstream subsidiary.
The biggest assets still on the market are Chesapeake's holdings in west Texas' Permian Basin and a joint venture in the oil-rich Mississippian play in northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas.
Chesapeake expects to raise as much as $14 billion this year from asset sales, plus another $4 billion to $5 billion in 2013.
Oppenheimer analyst Fadel Gheit said the east Texas deal isn't a big one for Chesapeake.
“Chesapeake has bigger fish to fry,” he said.
Energy & Exploration Partners' Chesapeake deal covers more than 57,000 net acres in five east Texas counties. The area is part of what the Texas company calls the Eaglebine because it includes the Eagle Ford Shale and Woodbine Sandstone.
The acquisition will more than double the Texas company's holdings. It had about 43,000 net acres in three core areas as of Aug. 31: the Eaglebine, the Wolfcamp play in west Texas' Permian Basin and the Niobrara Shale in Colorado and Wyoming.
Energy & Exploration Partners previously had accumulated about 18,000 acres in the Eaglebine. The company struck a deal with subsidiaries of Halcon Resources Corp. to help develop the acreage. Constellation Energy Commodities Group Inc. also bought a stake in the Eaglebine acreage.
Halcon has drilled three wells in the area, with production from the first one expected to begin by the end of the month.
Those partners will have an opportunity to buy a 65 percent working interest in acreage that is part of their areas of mutual interest.
The Chesapeake acquisition will give Energy & Exploration Partners more than 70,000 net acres in the play.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. has announced two asset sales this year as it tries to raise money to cover its projected capital costs. The company brought in about $2.6 billion from a series of deals announced in April for acreage and future production in Oklahoma and Texas. Chesapeake sold its stake in its former pipeline subsidiary for $2 billion in July. Future transactions with the newly named Access Midstream Partners could yield more money for the cash-strapped company.