The latest news is Southwestern Energy aka Southwester Energy Exploration Co. or SEECO, has sold its Fayetteville Shale properties. The price was $1.8 billion and the buyer a private concern known as Flywheel LLC. SWN investors met the news by dropping stock prices over 3%. Investors expected them to buy back more stock instead spending for additional drilling in their “liquids-rich” plays. My back of the envelope calculation estimates it sold for $0.50± per MCF of proven reserves.
BHP sold their assets for $300 million months later, leaving only XTO, owned by Exxon, active. SWN was once an Arkansas company headquartered in Fayetteville, Arkansas. They were called Arkansas Western Gas Co. and then spun off as SEECO until moving to Houston. The low product prices has finally caused them to throw in the towel.
The large amount of “produced gas” associated with the oil plays has overwhelmed the gas market and “dry basins” (so called because they only produce gas) are languishing. Current gas prices are around $2.20 – $2.75 with post-production expenses of the older wells running 30% to well over 50%, resulting in an effective price of $1.20 – $1.50/MCF. These prices were comparable to those paid in 1975.
For folks familiar with Murfreesboro, Arkansas and Diamond State Park, the geology is of a volcanic neck poking through the surface. Recent mineralogy has named the Arkansas rocks as lamproite. A diatreme, a fancy name for a long neck of magma coming from depth, fed this ancient volcano. Another common name is “pipe”. By chance the state park is exposed on the surface but there are numerous such pipes along the southwestern counties of Arkansas, and one, provides a trap for oil found in what is known as the Midway field. So anyone chancing to drill such a structure might still find oil, and if not, perhaps diamonds.