Chesapeake to sell Haynesville asset for $450 million to Indigo Minerals LLC

Chesapeake Energy Corp, the second largest U.S. producer of natural gas, said on Monday that it would sell a part of its acreage in the Haynesville Shale area for $450 million to a private company, which Reuters sources revealed as Indigo Minerals LLC, a competing natural gas producer.

Indigo Minerals LLC, the 10th largest U.S. producer of natural gas, is using an affiliate called Indigo Haynesville LLC for the acquisition, one of the sources said.

Chesapeake shares were up 4.6 percent at $7.56 in midafternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Chesapeake said in a news release that the asset, located in northern Louisiana, includes about 78,000 net acres, 40,000 of which is core acreage. The sale also includes 250 wells with a current net production of about 30 million cubic feet of gas per day.

Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake also said that, including this transaction, it has reached about $2 billion in gross proceeds from divestitures either signed or closed in 2016, excluding certain volumetric production payment repurchase transactions.

Indigo Minerals declined to comment. A spokesman for Chesapeake did not immediately return requests for comment.

The company, which has been trying to reduce a crippling debt load of nearly $9 billion, expects the transaction to close in the first quarter of 2017.

Chesapeake earlier in November said it planned to sell about 126,000 net acres in the Haynesville Shale field in Louisiana. The company said on Monday it was still marketing another 50,000 net acres in that field.

Indigo acquired producing properties and undeveloped acreage in the Haynesville and the Cotton Valley shale play in a separate deal announced earlier this year. The company raised $375 million in equity capital in April.

(Reporting by Vishaka George in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Jessica DiNapoli and Jessica Resnick-Ault in New York and Liz Hampton in Houston; editing by Martina D'Couto and Jonathan Oatis)