* Says deal will give it recoverable reserves of 550 mboe
* Second major shale gas acquisition for Statoil in U.S.
* Says shale gas technologies to help its growth worldwide
(Adds quotes from Statoil, further details)
By Gwladys Fouche
OSLO, Oct 10 Norwegian oil firm Statoil (STL.OL)
is expanding further its shale gas operations in the United
States, saying on Sunday it has created a joint venture with
Canada's Talisman TLM.TO to acquire acreage on the Eagle Ford
prospect in Texas for $1.325 billion.
Statoil said the deal, its second major shale gas
acquisition in North America, would give it recoverable reserves
of about 550 million barrels of oil equivalent, and would help
it develop technologies it sees as key to its growth worldwide.
In 2008 Statoil acquired a 32.5 percent stake in the
Marcellus Shale project from Chesapeake (CHK.N).[ID:nLDE62P0P0],
a holding covering 1.8 million acres in the Appalachian region
of North-East America.
Shale gas -- natural gas trapped in layered rock, rather
than porous reservoirs -- has revolutionised the U.S. gas market
by offering an abundant new supply source, driving prices down.
Statoil said mastering shale gas technology, such as
horizontal drilling or hydro-fracking, is key to the growth of
international oil companies in general and Statoil in
"The use of this technology will not be applied to America
alone; it will be applied globally, particularly in China, where
we think is one of the fastest growing gas markets over the next
few decades," John Knight, senior vice-president for business
development and global unconventional gas, told Reuters.
"So we hope we will be able to operate in China in due
course and learn those skills in the U.S.," he added.
Statoil previously said it was in negotiations with Chinese
oil companies about shale gas exploration in the Asian country.
$1.3 BILLION DEAL
Statoil said on Sunday it and Talisman were jointly buying
97,000 acres of land in southwest Texas from Denver-based
Enduring Resources for $1.325 billion and have formed a 50/50
joint venture to develop these assets.
The Norwegian firm will also buy half of Talisman's existing
assets in the Eagle Ford play for $180 million.
"As a result, Statoil and Talisman will together hold
134,000 net Eagle Ford acres and associated assets and
production in the joint venture," it said.
The two transactions amount to a total consideration for
Statoil of $843 million, Statoil said, adding that Talisman
would initially take the lead as operator for the total acreage.
Statoil said it would take over the operatorship of 50
percent of the acreage within three years.
The deal is expected to be completed by the end of 2010,
Statoil said, adding that Morgan Stanley (MS.N) acted as an
advisor to Statoil on this transaction.
(Editing by Greg Mahlich)