© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Chevron gas station sign is seen in Austin, Texas, U.S., October 23, 2023. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo
By Sabrina Valle, Shariq Khan and David French
(Reuters) -Chevron Corp said it is evaluating options for around 70,000 net acres of land in East Texas’ Haynesville shale formation after pausing development earlier this year, with sources saying a full sale is one option under consideration.
The move would be a small first step by the energy major which is seeking to offload assets worth up to $15 billion over the next five years following its recent multi-billion dollar acquisitions of more than 700,000 acres in U.S. shale assets.
Chevron (NYSE:) last month said it would enter the Bakken basin of North Dakota with a $53 billion acquisition of Hess Corp (NYSE:). In August, it concluded the $6.3 billion acquisition of PDC Energy (NASDAQ:), which expanded its reserves in the Permian and DJ basins.
The deals added almost 500,000 barrels per day of oil and gas in the U.S. shale to Chevron’s portfolio.
“Chevron is evaluating opportunities for our East Texas assets and is committed to safely delivering high returns and lower carbon,” a Chevron spokesperson said in response to questions from Reuters. They declined to comment further on the process.
Among the options Chevron is considering is a full sale of the Haynesville assets, two sources familiar with the discussions said. The company informed some potential buyers of its plans to market the assets early next year, in the days following its Hess takeover announcement, the sources added.
The sources requested anonymity to discuss confidential information and noted that a sale is not guaranteed. Chevron could still consider other options for the land, including a partnership with other producers in the region who could develop the assets in return for a split of the profits, one of the sources said.
Dealmaking interest in the Haynesville is likely to pick up due to the region’s proximity to existing and planned liquefied export projects along the U.S. Gulf Coast, according to bankers and others involved in energy transactions.
Demand for U.S. LNG exports shot up after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year led to Western sanctions on Moscow’s energy trade.
The acreage is likely to be valued in the low hundreds of millions of dollars, two sources said, with one of the sources adding that Chevron produces around 40 million cubic feet equivalent per day of natural gas from a small part of the Haynesville holdings.
The asset’s valuation will ultimately depend on various factors, one source cautioned, including commodity price forecasts at the time of bidding and how much worth bidders put on the land’s untapped potential.
Most of the land is undeveloped, and the Chevron spokesperson confirmed Haynesville development activities were paused in July “as a part of regular business planning and portfolio prioritization.”
Given much of the asset remains to be developed, this could draw in potential buyers seeking to bolster their own positions in the basin, at a time when energy investors are favoring companies with many years of reserves.
London-based BP (NYSE:) has held talks with several companies about tying up operations in the Haynesville shale gas basin, Reuters reported last month.