* Reliance to invest $1.35 bln - sources
* To pay $300 mln in cash, rest in capex over 4 yrs- source
* To get 45 pct of Pioneer Eagle Ford shale assets
* Reliance has been looking to build U.S. shale gas business
* Reliance shares close slightly lower, Pioneer down 6 pct
By Tony Munroe and Michael Erman
(Changes sourcing, adds detail from Pioneer)
MUMBAI/NEW YORK, June 22 India's Reliance
Industries (RELI.BO), building its presence in the U.S. shale gas
sector, was close to announcing a deal to pay $1.35 billion for a
stake in shale assets controlled by Pioneer Natural Resources
(PXD.N), sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on
Reliance, India's largest listed company, will buy a 45
percent stake in Pioneer's Eagle Ford shale acreage in south
Texas, they said. The energy-based conglomerate will pay $300
million in cash and the remainder in capital expenditure over four
years, one of the sources said.
Both sources declined to be identified.
Companies from around the globe are increasingly investing in
U.S. shale plays -- underground rock formations that hold reserves
of oil and natural gas.
Shale gas accounts for between 15 percent and 20 percent of
U.S. gas production but is expected to quadruple in coming years,
touching off a scramble among producers large and small for access
The Eagle Ford shale is seen as an especially attractive
prospect as it is believed to be rich in natural gas liquids and
condensates, which command higher prices than regular natural
The deal was likely to be announced on Wednesday, one of the
sources said, and would be the second of its kind in recent months
for Reliance, which is controlled by the world's fourth-richest
person, Mukesh Ambani.
In April, Reliance agreed to pay $1.7 billion to Atlas Energy
ATLS.O to form a joint venture and own a 40 percent stake in
Atlas' Marcellus Shale operations in the eastern United States.
A Reliance official declined to comment.
Pioneer has said that it is seeking a JV partner for its Eagle
Ford shale assets and that it hopes to announce that partner by
the end of June. It declined to comment further on the matter.
Ambani said last week Reliance was looking to build up its
presence in the U.S. shale gas business.
Reliance is also making a push into the power and telecoms
sectors now that it is no longer constrained by a pact that
forbade it from competing in industries where Ambani's
long-estranged brother, Anil Ambani, is also present.
Earlier this month, two sources familiar with the matter told
Reuters that Reliance was in talks to buy a stake in Pioneer's
shale gas assets, and was also in talks with several other firms
to acquire similar assets.
Reliance was represented by Barclays (BARC.L) and UBS
UBSN.VX(UBS.N), while Pioneer was advised by Bank of America
Merrill Lynch (BAC.N), sources said.
Shares in Reliance, the biggest constituent in the Sensex
.BSESN index, ended 0.15 percent lower on Tuesday in Mumbai,
while Pioneer shares traded 6 percent lower in New York.
(Reporting by Tony Munroe and Indulal P.M. in Mumbai and Michael
Erman in New York; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)