A QEP Resources Inc. unit reached two agreements to acquire oil-development properties in the Williston Basin in North Dakota from multiple sellers in deals with a combined value of roughly $1.38 billion.
Separately, Unit Corp. said Thursday it entered into two agreements to sell some of its noncore oil and natural-gas assets for $268 million, including its interest in certain properties included in the QEP transactions. The other agreement involves some Unit Corp. assets in Texas.
Another seller, Black Hills Corp., disclosed it agreed to sell approximately 85% of its Bakken and Three Forks shale assets in the Williston Basin to QEP for about $243 million.
Like many other energy companies, QEP Resources has been curtailing spending on dry natural-gas plays, while expanding production in more profitable oil- and liquids-rich plays.
The North Dakota properties are located about 12 miles west of QEP's main acreage in the Williston region--one of several U.S. energy fields where a drilling boom is under way. The exploration and production company also raised its 2012 estimates for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, as well as capital spending and production, to reflect the acquisitions.
QEP Resources Chairman and Chief Executive Chuck Stanley said Thursday the acquisitions provide greater operational flexibility in allocating rigs and personnel among its North Dakota assets.
The deals, expected to close late next month, have current net production of about 10,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day and a combined net proved and probable reserves of about 125 million barrels of oil equivalent, with crude accounting for roughly 81% of the total.
The company raised its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, view for the year by $50 million and now expects $1.4 billion to $1.45 billion. The company also boosted its capital spending plan by $50 million and now expects $1.5 billion to $1.55 billion.
QEP Resources in July reported that it swung to a second-quarter loss as the exploration-and-production company saw prices for natural gas, oil and natural-gas liquids all drop substantially and weaken overall revenue.
QEP shares were flat at $27.18 in light after-hours trading after rising as much as 1.4%. Unit Corp. shares closed Thursday at $41.24 and Black Hills shares closed at $31.01. Both Unit and Black Hills' stocks were unchanged after hours.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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