Statoil Deals for TX Oil Firm

Monday, October 17, 2011 @ 06:10 PM gHale

Norway’s Statoil ASA will pay $4.4 billion for Austin, TX-based oil and gas company Brigham Exploration Co.

Brigham has more than 100 employees in Austin and North Dakota and a strong position in the Bakken and Three Forks “tight oil” plays in North Dakota’s Williston Basin.

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“We are positioning ourselves as a leading player in the fast growing U.S. onshore oil and gas industry,” said Statoil Chief Executive Helge Lund.

The transaction will provide Statoil with more than 375,000 acres in the Williston Basin, which holds potential for oil production from the Bakken and Three Forks formations. Brigham also holds interests in 40,000 acres in other areas. The early-stage estimate for the resource base is between 300 million and 500 million barrels of oil. Its properties currently produce about 21,000 barrels of oil a day.

The Bakken and Three Forks formations are among the largest oil accumulations in the United States. Various estimates have said the recoverable oil in the formations is between 5 billion and 24 billion barrels.

“A bigger enterprise with a larger balance sheet will be better-positioned to take advantage of our large and growing inventory of Williston Basin drilling locations and the associated assets,” said Brigham Chief Executive Bud Brigham. “We are excited to see this transaction completed and look forward to having our assets and employees integrate with the Statoil organization.”

Tight oil reservoirs can now undergo development with long lateral wells that drillers can hydraulically fracture in a manner similar to shale gas recovery.

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