Linn Energy LLC (>> Linn Energy, LLC) on Tuesday agreed to pay $400 million for a stake in a Wyoming oilfield developed by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC), adding to Linn's growing portfolio of mature U.S. assets.
Anadarko assigned Linn 23% of its interest in its Salt Creek field, part of a group of oil deposits in Wyoming's Powder River Basin. Linn plans to foot $400 million of Anadarko's development costs over the next three to six years while investing $200 million more to fund its own stake in the field.
The investment expands Linn's growing base of so-called legacy fields, many of which contain oil or gas once considered too expensive to recover. New drilling techniques combined with climbing oil prices have made such areas more attractive for drilling in recent years, a trend that has underpinned Linn's growth strategy.
The latest deal comes after BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) in February agreed to sell Linn $1.2 billion of natural gas assets in Kansas, part of the British oil giant's effort to slim down its U.S. portfolio.
Anadarko has pumped carbon dioxide into the Salt Creek field since 2004, one of several enhanced oil recovery tools oil producers have used in recent years to boost production from harder-to-reach deposits. Linn said its new joint venture will give the company more experience with carbon-dioxide and other enhanced recovery techniques.
"We believe this long-life asset is unique because it is expected to deliver 10 years of steady production growth while, at the same time, providing a low base-decline rate," Linn Chairman and Chief Executive Mark E. Ellis said.
As it does with other fields, Linn has already hedged all of the current net production associated with the joint venture through 2014. The new investment is expected to double current production by 2015, Linn said.
Linn shares were recently up 1.2% at $38.64 mid-Tuesday, while Anadarko was off 47 cents at $78.64, in line with the broader market.
-By Drew FitzGerald, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2909; Andrew.FitzGerald@dowjones.com