Irving-based Pioneer Natural Resources, which has about 155,000 gross acres in the Barnett Shale, much of it in the field's wetter reaches, said Wednesday it dropped its planned sale of the properties after it couldn't draw an acceptable bid. It had announced plans to sell the stake in September. It will instead retain and operate the properties, which in the fourth quarter produced about 9,000 barrels of oil equivalent, 55 percent liquids and 45 percent natural gas. It is running one rig in the area and will continue drilling activities.
In another announcement, Pioneer said it agreed to sell to China's Sinochem Petroleum a 40 percent stake in 207,000 Wolfcamp Shale acres in West Texas for $1.7 billion, including $500 million in cash at closing and $1.2 billion in future development costs over six years. Sinochem gets about 82,800 net acres in the Wolfcamp and deeper formations, while Pioneer retains shallower prospects. The companies plan to drill 86 horizontal Wolfcamp Shale wells this year, 120 wells in 2014 and 165 wells in 2015. The deal should close in the second quarter.
-- Jim Fuquay