Chevron buys natural gas fields in Pennsylvania

2011-5-5

Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. energy company, agreed to buy natural-gas prospects in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale formation, its second acquisition in the U.S. Northeast this year.

Chevron will acquire leases covering 228,000 acres from closely held Chief Oil & Gas LLC and Tug Hill Inc., according to a statement today from the San Ramon-based company. Terms weren't disclosed.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of June and will give the company access to about 5 trillion cubic feet of gas in the area, the company said. In February, Chevron completed its $3.58 billion purchase of Atlas Energy Inc., a Moon Township, Pa., owner of 622,000 acres in the Marcellus Shale.

Exxon Mobil Corp., the largest U.S. energy company, and other producers are ramping up investment in U.S. gas prospects formerly considered too difficult and costly to exploit. Chevron announced plans in March to drill 70 wells in the Marcellus region this year.

Shale-rock formations require injection of water, sand and chemicals to release gas. The Marcellus Shale formation stretches from Virginia to New York and may contain 490 trillion cubic feet of gas, according to Terry Engelder, a professor of geosciences at Penn State University.

Shale gas may account for 47 percent of total U.S. production in 2035, up from 16 percent in 2009, according to the Energy Information Administration.

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