Petrohawk Sells Fayetteville Shale Assets to XTO for $575 Million

Petrohawk Energy Corp. of Houston announced Thursday that it had completed the sale of its natural gas assets in the Fayetteville Shale Play of north-central Arkansas to XTO Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil, for $575 million.

The sale has an effective date of Oct. 1.

Petrohawk has also made a deal to sell XTO its midstream assets - that is, pipelines and storage facilities - in the Fayetteville Shale for an additional $75 million. That deal is expected to close in early 2011.

Petrohawk, which includes subsidiaries KCS Resources Inc., One Tec Operating LLC and Petrohawk Operating Co., has operated primarily in Cleburne and Van Buren counties, although it also has wells in Conway, Faulkner, Franklin, Johnson and Pope counties in the Fayetteville Shale. It was the No. 4 gas production company in Arkansas in 2009, pulling 42 million MCF of gas from 222 wells last year.

XTO, which was acquired by ExxonMobile in June, ranked third among gas production companies in Arkansas with 73 million MCF sold from wells in Arkansas in 2009. Unlike Petrohawk, XTO is also active in the conventional gas wells of the Arkoma Basin in western Arkansas.

XTO and Petrohawk combined would rival the No. 2 player in the Fayetteville Shale, Chesapeake Energy Corp. of Oklahoma City.

At the start of 2010, Petrohawk, planned to spend $100 million in the Fayetteville Shale this year. But in March, that figure was scaled back to $85 million. By the end of the second quarter, the company was looking for a buyer for its Fayetteville Shale Play assets.