Equinor ASA on April 27 completed the sale of its entire position in the Bakken field, marking the Norwegian company’s exit from the U.S. shale play.
Grayson Mill Energy LLC, a Houston-based E&P company backed by EnCap Investments LP, agreed in February to acquire Equinor’s Bakken interests, along with associated midstream assets, for a total consideration of around $900 million.
Equinor had been active in the Bakken play since its acquisition of Brigham Exploration Co. for $4.7 billion in 2011. The Brigham deal provided the company, operating as Statoil at the time, with a more than 375,000 net-acre entry into the Williston Basin in the early days of the U.S. shale boom.
The sale agreement to Grayson Mill Energy covered all of Equinor’s operated and nonoperated acreage, which the company said totaled 242,000 net acres in North Dakota and Montana in a company release from February. Production from these assets in fourth-quarter 2020 was 48,000 boe/d (net of royalty interests)o, the earlier release said.
“Equinor is optimizing its oil and gas portfolio to strengthen profitability and make it more robust for the future,” Anders Opedal, president and CEO of Equinor, said in a statement in February. “By divesting our Bakken position we are realizing proceeds that can be deployed towards more competitive assets in our portfolio, enabling us to deliver increased value creation for our shareholders.”
Outside of the Bakken, Equinor continues to hold oil and gas assets in the U.S. in the Marcellus/Utica shale formations in the Appalachian Basin and the Louisiana Austin Chalk plus offshore assets in the Gulf of Mexico.
Nearly all field staff and many of those in the support teams working on the Bakken assets will transfer to Grayson Mill Energy, according to Equinor.
Grayson Mill Energy is led by CEO Eric Bayes, who previously was with Oasis Petroleum Inc. EnCap made its initial investment in the company in 2016.
On April 27, Equinor said it will continue to operate the Bakken assets up to four months after closing as part of a transition service agreement with Grayson Mill Energy. Separately, Equinor Marketing and Trading will purchase crude offtake from the Bakken assets through a long-term purchase agreement with Grayson Mill.
The transaction has an effective date of Jan. 1.
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