Statoil to Shed U.S. Natural Gas Wells in November Sale

Statoil ASA is selling some of the onshore natural gas and oil wells it acquired when it bought Brigham Exploration Co. in October 2011, the Norwegian oil company said Wednesday.

Statoil will be shedding about 180 natural gas wells at a time when prices for the fuel remain unprofitable for most producers. Natural gas prices fell to a decade low in April because of recent advances in drilling technology that yielded a steep increase in supply.

Statoil will divest about 230 wells in the Anadarko basin in Oklahoma and along the Gulf Coast in Louisiana and Texas, said Ola Morten Aanestad, Statoil's vice president of communications. About 80% of the wells produce natural gas, Mr. Aanestad said.

The sale will occur during the monthlong oil and gas clearinghouse auction scheduled for Nov. 14, Mr. Aanestad said. Statoil will put two other packages "shortly," including natural gas wells spread over 7,500 gross acres in Brooks County, Texas, and 10,000 gross acres in the Permian Basin area of West Texas, he said.

Statoil bought Texas-based Brigham for $4.4 billion as a way to increase its exposure to U.S. unconventional oil and gas fields.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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