Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Williams Partners expanding in Marcellus Shale, buys Cabot assets

TULSA, Okla. - Williams Partners L.P. (NYSE: WPZ) announced on Nov. 18 that it is significantly expanding its midstream business in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale.

The partnership has agreed to acquire Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.'s midstream assets located in Susquehanna County, Pa., for $150 million. The Cabot assets include some 75 miles of gathering pipelines and two compressor stations. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter.

In addition, Williams Partners has added more than $150 million of expansion capital to fund the 2011 construction phase of additional gathering assets, including compression and dehydration, which will significantly augment the acquired assets.

The partnership will continue to invest additional capital beyond 2011 to further expand the system. The combined gathering system will be capable of delivering approximately 1.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas over the next two to three years.

The new system will connect with Williams Partners' previously announced Springville gathering pipeline in Susquehanna County. It will significantly expand the Springville system, as well as add additional delivery points.

The partnership has also agreed to a new long-term dedicated gathering agreement with Cabot for its production in the northeast Pennsylvania area of the Marcellus Shale. The 25-year agreement covers an area of mutual interest that currently includes 138,000 gross acres.

"This additional expansion in the Marcellus Shale is an ideal growth opportunity for Williams Partners," said Alan Armstrong, senior vice president of Williams Partners' midstream business. "We have the opportunity to serve another one of the biggest producers in the Marcellus with the type of large-scale solutions required for Cabot's rapidly expanding production.

"The previously announced Springville system and this expansion will provide significant takeaway capacity to multiple interstate gas pipelines, including Transco," Armstrong said. "In addition to our anchor customer agreement with Cabot, there will be future opportunities to help third-party producers grow their volumes and access large natural gas markets. Included among those potential producer customers is Williams' exploration and production business, with its significant acreage position in northeast Pennsylvania."

The previously announced Springville system is currently in construction phase and is expected to be operational in mid-2011.

The Cabot assets being acquired are currently gathering approximately 230 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of Cabot's natural gas production. Construction will begin on the additional expansions to the Springville system and other new areas in 2011.

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