Gastar and its joint venture partner, Atinum Marcellus, have leased an additional approximate 3,300 gross acres in Marshall County, West Virginia to develop the liquids-rich Marcellus Shale formation. Under the joint venture agreement, Gastar will pay 45% of the lease acquisition cost for a 50% interest. Initial drilling and completion activities on this acreage will be eligible for the drilling carry that is a part of the previously announced joint venture between Gastar and Atinum.
The acreage is located at PPG Industries' Natrium, West Virginia chemicals site along the Ohio River and provides excellent access to water and natural gas infrastructure. As operator, Gastar expects to begin drilling during the second half of 2011 and has identified as many as 30 locations to be drilled over the next several years.
J. Russell Porter, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We are pleased to add PPG's acreage to our Marcellus portfolio, and we look forward to getting operations underway later this year. This lease, when combined with our existing leasehold in Marshall and Wetzel counties, helps Gastar create a large and mostly contiguous block of acreage within an area that is ultra-rich in natural gas liquids and condensate yields."
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