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Shell sells more U.S. gas assets

FARGO — Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday announced the sale of two onshore U.S. shale gas assets in exchange for $2.1 billion and acreage in different gas-rich areas as the energy company restructures its North America business and reins in costs.

Shell agreed to sell to Ultra Petroleum its relatively mature natural gas-producing properties in Wyoming’s Pinedale field, a total of 155,000 acres, in a step which will mark its complete exit from one of its first U.S. shale investments in 2001.

Ultra will pay Shell $925 million in cash and give it acreage in the oil and gas-rich Marcellus and Utica fields in Pennsylvania and Ohio, respectively.

The Anglo-Dutch company will also sell its 107,000 acre Haynesville field in north Louisiana for about $1.2 billion in cash to Dallas, Texas-based explorer Vine Oil & Gas and its partner, investment fund Blackstone Group.

In the second quarter of 2014, Shell produced 190 million cubic feet per day (mcf/d) of natural gas from Pinedale. The Haynesville gas production reached 700 mcf/d as of July 1, Shell said.

The company has focused on selling gas assets where development costs are high while revenues are relatively low compared with the oil sector, especially as natural gas prices around the world have dropped sharply this year.