Norwest sells West Virginian shale gas project

JUNIOR explorer Norwest Energy says it has sold its West Virginian shale gas project to its joint venture partner and operator Ascent Resources WV for an “attractive” price.

The Perth-based company today said it sold the project at a “significant premium” to the cost of acquiring leases that will recover sunk well costs.

The project has about 46,000 acres under lease and five wells drilled, Norwest said.

Chief executive Joe Salomon said the sale completes Norwest’s withdrawal from the US state.

“Development of the fractured shale play has been limited by the availability of equipment in the area and results to date have been mixed,” Salomon said.

“Our joint venture partner is interested in further exploring this area and made an attractive offer for our interest.”

Norwest said it is now assessing gas projects in Kentucky and Tennessee where new parties have expressed interest.

The West Virginian sale is subject to a final purchase and sales agreement, which is expected to close in early November.

Partnership interests in the project, prior to the sale, were Norwest (29%), Ascent Resources WV (42%) and Alto Energy (29%).