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Exxon, Linn Energy to Exchange Energy Assets

By Tess Stynes Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) reached an agreement with Linn Energy LLC (LINE) that will add nearly 26,000 acres to U.S. oil-and-gas properties managed by Exxon's XTO Energy unit. In exchange, Linn Energy will receive a portion of XTO's interest in the Hugoton gas field in Kansas and Oklahoma. Specific terms of the deal weren't disclosed, although the companies noted it was a nonmonetary exchange. Virtually all of the acreage that XTO is adding is located in the portion of the Midland Basin, which XTO President Randy Cleveland said "is in a prolific area where we expect rapid, profitable development of multiple horizons in the Wolfcamp and Spraberry formations." "This transaction continues XTO's growth in a key liquids play," Mr. Cleveland said, noting the company will continue to be the largest producer of natural gas and largest holder of proved gas reserves in the U.S. For its part, Linn said the exchange will make the company the largest producer in the Hugoton Basin. The Hugoton gas field interests include current production of about 85 million equivalent cubic feet a day, 80% of which is natural gas. Linn said the transaction includes about 400 future drilling locations, which will double its inventory in the Hugoton field. Linn Chairman and Chief Executive Mark E. Ellis, said that following the closing of the trade, expected in the third quarter, Linn will have about 30,000 net acres in the Midland Basin that is prospective for horizontal Wolfcamp drilling. "We continue to see strong interest in the market for a trade or sale of these remaining assets and believe there is significant additional value for our unitholders." Write to Tess Stynes at Subscribe to WSJ:

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