Hess Sells Bakken Acreage to Enerplus for $321 Million

The acquisition adds 2 or 3 years to Enerplus Corporation's development inventory, it said of the cash deal that follows its purchase of Bruin E&P earlier this year.

Source: Hess Corporation.

Hess Corporation announced today it is selling about 78,700 acres of its Bakken Shale position to Enerplus Corporation for $321 million.

Oil production from the areas that are part of the deal averaged around 4,500 B/D over the first quarter of the year, Hess said in a statement. Calling the Bakken Shale a “core asset” for the company, CEO John Hess said the majority of the assets being sold off were not going to be drilled on until 2026 which “brings material value forward and further strengthens our cash and liquidity position.”

Enerplus considers much of the acreage to be Tier 1 and estimates it adds 2 or 3 years to its Bakken development runway, giving it an estimated 10 years’ worth of drilling locations in the region. At current oil prices, Enerplus said the Tier 1 acreage and other areas amount to 120 undrilled locations.

The operator will use $150 million of cash on hand and use its credit facility to finance the remainder of the acquisition that is set to close in May.

With the new fields, Enerplus said it expects to produce up to 115,000 BOED, including up to 71,500 B/D. "These assets are a strong strategic and operational fit for Enerplus, further extending our high-return Bakken drilling inventory,” CEO of Enerplus, Ian Dundas, said in an announcement.

Last month, Calgary-based Enerplus completed a $465-million acquisition of privately held operator Bruin E&P which added 151,000 acres to its Bakken holdings.

Hess has been shifting its capital investments toward newer offshore Guyana developments where it is a nonoperating partner with ExxonMobil. In October, Hess raised $505 million from the sale of its Shenzi development in the Gulf of Mexico to fund projects in Guyana’s Stabroek Block that is estimated to hold recoverable reserves of more than 8 billion BOE.

Before this latest deal between Hess and Enerplus was announced, the US shale sector saw mergers and acquisitions worth around $3.4 billion take place during the first quarter. This is according to a Reuters report citing oil and gas data firm Enverus, which said the same figure from a year ago was just $600 million.