Rosetta Resources Buying Permian Basin Assets From Comstock Resources

Houston-based Rosetta Resources (NASDAQ: ROSE  ) plans to acquire 53,306 net acres in the Permian Basin from Comstock Resources (NYSE: CRK  ) for $768 million, the company announced today.

Approximately 40,000 acres are located in the Wolfbone area of the Permian, and current production there is about 3,300 barrels of oil equivalent per day.  Rosetta is anticipating a serious upside to this acreage, identifying close to 800 net well locations for vertical drilling.  The company also said there may be further upside if horizontal drilling is possible.

The remaining 13,000 acres are undelineated and are considered more of an exploration opportunity.

CEO Jim Craddock is enthused about Rosetta's buy: "This transaction provides entry into the prolific Permian Basin with both existing production and strong growth potential in proven delineated areas as well as prospective exploration targets on undeveloped acreage," he is quoted as saying in the company press release.  The Permian Basin is indeed a prolific play, accounting for 20% of U.S. production outside of Alaska.

The deal is subject to standard regulatory approvals, and is expected to close by May 15.

Comstock said it intends to use the proceeds from the sale to reduce debt and fund an increase to its 2013 drilling program in the Eagle Ford shale. The company plans to spend $410 million in 2013 on drilling activities and $12 million on exploratory leasehold.

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