KKR Natural Resources, a joint venture between Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Premier Natural Resources, has snatched properties in the Barnett Shale and Arkoma Basin from WPX Energy (WPX) for $306 million.

The acquisition, slated to close in the second quarter pending certain approvals, marks KKR Natural Resources’ third buy in the Barnett Shale and is part of the company’s multi-billion dollar plan to pursue oil and gas properties in North America.

The transaction gives KKR 27,000 acres, 320 wells and 91 miles of pipeline in North Central Texas and Eastern Oklahoma as well as 66,000 acres, 525 wells and 115 miles of pipeline in the Arkoma. The Barnett shale properties currently produce about 67 million cubic feet a day.

“We see attractive opportunities to invest behind the development of domestic energy resources and remain excited about the opportunity to grow our natural resources platform by continuing to acquire non-core oil and gas properties from high quality operators,” KKR Natural Resources head, Jonathan Smidt, said in a statement.  

The assets from WPX mostly produce natural gas and make up less than 5% of its year-end 2011 proved domestic reserves. WPX chief executive Ralph Hill said the assets aren’t core to its strategy of growing operations in the Bakken Shale, Piceance Basin and Marcellus Shale.

With the divestiture, WPX has strengthened its balance sheet and can now focus on further expanding the oil and natural gas liquids components of its business, Hill said.

KKR Natural Resources has been rapidly scooping up properties in the U.S. It has acquired more than $900 million of assets since its inception in 2010, including more than $600 million this year.

The company still has $1 billion of capital available for investment, which gives it the capacity to purchase more than $2 billion additional properties over the next few years.

Premier, which owns a stake in KKR Natural Resources, has experience operating assets in the major producing basins in the U.S. It already operates assets in the Barnett Shale, the Texas Gulf Coast, the Permian Basin, Louisiana and Mississippi.

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