Marubeni gains a stake in Marathon Oil's Niobrara Shale acreage in Wyoming, Colorado

Source: Marathon Oil

Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE: MRO) has signed an agreement with Marubeni Denver Julesburg LLC, a subsidiary of Japan's Marubeni Corp., under which Marathon will assign a portion of its interest in the Niobrara shale play within the DJ Basin of southeast Wyoming and northern Colorado. 

Under terms of the agreement, Marubeni will receive a 30 percent undivided working interest in Marathon's approximately 180,000 net acres in the Niobrara Shale of the DJ Basin for a total consideration of $270 million, or $5,000 per acre. The companies expect to close this transaction by April 28, 2011.

"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, Marathon's executive vice president, Upstream. "Our significant acreage position in the DJ Basin reinforces our strategy of targeting unconventional, oil-focused resource plays in the U.S. that provide low-risk, scalable growth opportunities. It also allows us to apply expertise developed over the past several years in other unconventional shale plays such as the Bakken formation in North Dakota."

Marathon began leasing acreage in the DJ Basin in 2010. The Company is currently acquiring 2-D and 3-D seismic data and expects to participate in eight to 12 gross exploration wells by the end of the year. Marathon will be operator of the jointly owned leasehold.

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