Marathon Oil is selling almost one-third of its Eagle Ford acreage in South Texas. The company is selling acreage it doesn’t consider essential to its exploration plans and production growth targets are not expected to be adjusted after the sale.
The company currently has approximately 325,000 net acres in the Eagle Ford and plans to focus future development on a core area of 200,000 net acres. The 97,000 net acres being marketed are predominately located in Wilson County, with some acreage and Bee and Karnes counties as well.
Marathon plans to spend $1.6 billion per year over the next five years, so this is no indication the company is changing direction. It’s likely the company’s Wilson County assets yield lower returns than the core area and the company wants to use the capital to reinvest in its best area.
This is also an interesting sign in the direction of Eagle Ford deal valuations. Marathon paid approximately $25,000 per acre for Hilcorp’s assets, but I’ll be surprised if this acreage package fetches a valuation that high. With both thoughts in mind, this deal could implicitly tell us non-core acreage is worth less than $25,000 per acre and core acreage is worth much more….