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Pioneer Natural Resources sells Barnett Shale holdings

Max B. Baker | Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Irving-based Pioneer Natural Resources announced Monday that it is selling all of its assets in the Barnett Shale, along with a field in Kansas, to concentrate its activity in West Texas.

The sale of holdings in the Barnett Shale and Hugoton field in Kansas will raise $495 million.

Pioneer, which entered the Barnett in 2007, said it is selling those assets to an undisclosed company for $155 million. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.

Pioneer announced in September 2012 that wanted to sell its Barnett Shale stakes but dropped that plan in February 2013 when it couldn’t generate an acceptable offer. But the company has indicated since then that the Barnett Shale was not part of their future plans.

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Net production from the Barnett averages about 10,300 barrels of oil equivalent per day during the first six months of 2014, consisting of oil, natural gas liquids and gas, the company said.

Pioneer will raise another $340 million from selling its Hugoton assets — which include oil and gas wells — to Houston-based Linn Energy. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter. Hugoton averaged about 6,600 barrels oil equivalent per day during the first six months of this year.

“The sale of these assets will allow us to strategically redeploy capital to our core, oil-related” assets in the Permian Basin of West Texas, said Scott Sheffield, Pioneer’s chairman and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement.

Technical employees working on the Barnett Shale from its offices in Las Colinas will be reassigned while the 30 field employees are expected to stay with the assets and be hired by the buyer.

According to its website, Pioneer is one of the most active drillers in Texas’ Spraberry/Wolfcamp oil field in the Permian and the Eagle Ford Shale play in South Texas.

When the company first said it wanted to get out of the Barnett Shale, officials said any money derived from a sale would be used to trim its debt. While the dollars from these sales will initially be reported as paying down debt, the company plans to reinvest it in their other operations.

The sale of the assets, as well as Pioneer’s second-quarter earnings, were reported late Monday.

Pioneer reported second-quarter net income attributable to common stock of $1 million, or a penny per diluted share, down from $337 million or $2.40 per share in the same period last year.

Without the effect of non-cash derivative mark-to-market losses and other unusual items, adjusted income for the second quarter was $195 million after tax, or $1.35 per diluted share, the company stated.

Max B. Baker, 817-390-7714 Twitter: @MaxBBaker


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