Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) announced Tuesday that it has reached an agreement to sell the remaining natural gas processing assets for $2.16 billion. By selling the assets, one of the country's largest natural gas companies aims to pay down its debts and strengthen its balance sheet.
Earlier this year, Access Midstream Partners LP (NYSE:ACMP) had acquired most of Chesapeake's midstream assets. Again, Access Midstream Partners LP (NYSE:ACMP), a private equity backed partnership, has decided to purchase the remaining assets, located primarily in Eagle Ford, Utica, Marcellus, Haynesville, and Niobrara shale, throughout the United States.
The asset sale is taking place in tandem with another deal, in which Williams, a pipeline and energy infrastructure firm, is acquiring a big stake in Access Midstream Partners for $2.4 billion from Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP). As per the agreements, Williams will buy 50 percent of GIP's stake in Access' general partner and 25 percent of its limited partner units.
Williams' new stake in Access will further strengthen its reach in shale gas regions. Shale gas is hot in the market, and infrastructure and pipeline companies are hungry to move the gas produced from rocks to the market. Williams said it has decided to sell 46.5 million shares in a public offering to raise $1.46 billion for the deal. Both the deals are expected to be completed by the first quarter of the next year.
This asset sale is a part of Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK)'s plan to sell assets worth $19 billion this year and the next, to reduce the debts and recover the funding gaps. The Oklahoma City-based company said it sold some oil and gas infrastructure in Texas and Oklahoma for $175 million during the fourth quarter. Chesapeake expects another $425 million for the remaining midstream properties.
The Chesapeake management has also been reshuffled recently, as its chairman Aubrey McClendon was replaced at his post by Archie Dunham. However, McClendon will continue as the company's chief executive.