Eclipse Resources Corp. said late Wednesday that it has finalized a joint venture (JV) with an affiliate of GSO Capital Partners LP to help fund Utica Shale drilling in Ohio’s Guernsey and Monroe counties.
Sequel Energy Group LLC has committed up to $285 million to fund its share of two drilling programs consisting of 34 gross wells that are either currently in progress or planned to be spud through the end of 2018. Funding would increase if Sequel elects to participate in an optional third program of 16 wells.
The deal, originally announced for $325 million to fund some of Eclipse’s 2017 activity, was initially expected to close last September, but the parties took longer to finalize binding documents and gain regulatory approval.
“The structure of the drilling joint venture allows us to maintain an efficient two-rig operating program while providing flexibility to manage capital spending to a level that is appropriate depending on the strength of the forward commodity curves,” Eclipse CEO Benjamin Hulburt said.
The producer expects to release its 2018 capital budget sometime in the first quarter. The JV also comes after Eclipse announced a deal to enter Pennsylvania, where it acquired 44,500 net acres and plans to soon begin Utica development.
Under the JV, Eclipse would retain 50% of its pre-carry working interest in the first program and would have the option through Jan. 31 to adjust its interest in the second program to between 30-70%. The company said a “significant portion” of Sequel’s working interest in each well program would revert to Eclipse once a certain return is realized by Sequel.