Houston-based Marathon Oil Corp. is selling access to its Niobrara play assets to the Japanese firm Marubeni Corp for a cool $270 million. It’s the latter company’s first foray into oil shale boom taking place in the US. The deal is expected to close later this month.
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The deal calls for Marubeni to get a 30 percent stake in Marathon’s 180,000 acres in the Denver-Julesberg Basin in Colorado and Wyoming. Marathon is conducting seismic testing of its acreage in the area and expects to start eight to 12 exploratory wells by the end of this year.
“Marathon is pleased to partner with Marubeni as we prepare to explore and evaluate the full potential of this emerging, liquids-rich resource play,” said Dave Roberts, executive vice president for Marathon’s upstream division, which handles exploration and development.
According to a company press release, Marubeni has sought to get involved in a U.S. shale play since 2009. The company is one of the largest international trading businesses in Japan. With offices in 71 countries, it imports and exports a variety of products in energy, real estate and business development.
“We believe this project is not only in line with our long-term business strategy but also contributes to the recent U.S. energy policy, which is aiming to increase domestic crude oil production,” Marubeni’s announcement said.
Marathon is conducting seismic testing of its acreage in the DJ Basin, and expects to start eight to 12 exploratory wells by the end of this year.