Pioneer Natural Resources Co. announced on June 13th, 2018 that it agreed to sell all of its Raton Basin assets in southeastern Colorado, bringing the Irving, Texas-based company one step closer to its goal of becoming a pure Midland Basin player. Pioneer will sell its Raton assets, including all of its producing gas wells and associated infrastructure in the play, to Evergreen Natural Resources LLC for $79 million.
Net production from Pioneer’s Raton assets averaged roughly 84 million cubic feet per day, or 14,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, during first-quarter 2018, consisting entirely of natural gas. The production represents almost 22% of Pioneer’s first-quarter gas volumes of about 378.9 million cubic feet, according to analysts with Seaport Global Securities.
“Although we estimate the deal was struck at a modest multiple of $940 per Mcf/d, we believe it, more importantly, represents another milestone in Pioneer’s transformation into a Permian pure-play, which will conclude after it monetizes its remaining non-Permian assets,” Seaport analysts said in a June 14 note.
Earlier this year, Pioneer embarked on its strategy to sell all of its assets outside of the Permian, where the E&P plans to focus its entire $2.9 billion capex in 2018. Assets earmarked for sale, which in some cases have been part of Pioneer’s portfolio for decades, include positions in the Eagle Ford, South Texas and West Panhandle regions.
In February, Gabriele Sorbara, senior equity analyst with The Williams Capital Group LP, estimated the company’s divestitures could raise roughly $1 billion in proceeds.
“After all the divestitures are completed, of course, we become a pure-play in the Permian Basin, in fact, a pure Midland Basin player,” Timothy L. Dove, president and CEO, said during a May earnings call. “And that will enhance our reported returns because, of course, our reported cash margins will increase our cash revenue per boe, our operating costs will be reduced per boe and our corporate returns will also be significantly improved.”
Pioneer has already made some progress on its strategy so far this year with the sale of its Eagle Ford joint venture (JV) assets to Sundance Energy Australia Ltd. The $221.5 million April 2018 transaction was comprised of assets held by Pioneer’s JV partner Reliance Industries Ltd.
Dove said Pioneer’s divestiture process could easily last through the majority of this year, but “suffice it to say it’s on the front burner and we’re making good progress.”
Pioneer expects the sale of its Raton assets to result in a pretax noncash loss of $65 million to $75 million recorded during second-quarter 2018.
The company anticipates closing the transaction by the end of July, subject to the satisfaction of closing conditions.