Gastar Exploration Ltd announced that it has signed a purchase and sale agreement ("PSA") with an undisclosed third party for the sale of Gastar's interests in approximately 76,000 net acres in Kingfisher and Canadian counties, Oklahoma for approximately $62.0 million in cash. The agreement also provides for the trading of certain acreage between Gastar and the third party to create more concentrated acreage blocks for both parties. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expect to close in mid-third quarter of 2013.
The acres to be sold are part of the undeveloped leases acquired by Gastar on June 7, 2013 in a transaction with Chesapeake Energy that included drilling rights on approximately 157,000 net acres in Oklahoma, along with approximately 2.8 MMBoe of proved developed producing ("PDP") reserves.
Gastar also announced that its partner in its original area of mutual interest ("AMI") in Oklahoma has elected to exercise its rights and acquire approximately 12,820 net acres that Gastar acquired from Chesapeake for a total payment of $12.1 million. This purchase includes approximately 400 MBOE representing 50% of the PDP reserves associated with the wells acquired from Chesapeake that are geographically located inside the existing area of mutual interest.
After completing the pending transactions, Gastar will continue to own all of the PDP reserves acquired in the Chesapeake transaction outside the existing AMI and 50% of the PDP reserves inside the existing AMI, along with drilling rights on the remaining approximately 70,206 net acres acquired from Chesapeake. Gastar has an additional 59,390 gross acres (24,584 net acres) acquired earlier in the original joint venture as part of a program to develop the Hunton Limestone formation in Oklahoma. Accounting for both transactions, Gastar's total acreage in the Hunton Limestone play will be approximately 136,772 gross (96,684 net) acres.
"When we pursued the Chesapeake property package earlier this year, our analysis indicated that some of the leasehold acreage was outside our targeted Hunton Limestone objective, but potentially prospective for other formations being pursued by other operators," said J. Russell Porter, Gastar's President and CEO. "Through this sale, we are able to monetize all of our non-core acreage in Oklahoma at a very attractive valuation. The Chesapeake transaction assumed a cost of about $41 million for the undeveloped lease acreage and approximately $33.2 million for the developed and producing acreage, so we are pleased to be retaining all our key acreage and the producing reserves while recouping most of the total investment.
"This transaction is another important step for Gastar as we continue to strengthen our financial position to develop our ultra-rich Marcellus acreage and our highly prospective Hunton Limestone oil play. We have a substantial inventory of attractive and liquids-focused projects, as well as the financial liquidity to actively drill these opportunities.
"Currently we are closely monitoring the early results of our initial Hunton Limestone wells in Oklahoma and participating in the drilling of two additional non-operated Hunton wells. We remain encouraged that our second well has continued to maintain strong production levels even with its natural production decline, while the third and fourth wells are still on flow back. Although we have had some additional compressor problems on the two most recent completions, the flow-back fluid volumes are high, and the oil cut continues to gradually increase," added Porter.
As previously announced by Cubic Energy, Gastar has agreed to further extend the closing of the previously announced sale of its East Texas properties to Cubic Energy to July 12, 2013 in order to allow Cubic Energy additional time to finalize financing for the transaction.