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Houston-based driller sells WV wells for $80 million

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — Gastar Exploration has sold its wells in West Virginia for $80 million to help fund efforts to drill in Oklahoma.

The Houston, Texas-based driller had operated numerous wells in Marshall and Wetzel counties, with significant operations in the area atop the hill in the vicinity of the Axiall Corp. and Bayer Corp. plants along W.Va. 2. According to Gastar President and CEO J. Russell Porter, Fort Worth, Texas-based Tug Hill Inc. purchased the Gastar assets.

Gastar leaders reported a net loss of $359 million from July 1 to Dec. 31. Gastar Senior Vice President Mike McCown previously said the firm spent $200 million on Marshall County operations in 2012.

“The closing of this transaction allows us to reduce our debt and exclusively focus our operations on the mid-continent ‘STACK’ play, one of the most economic plays in the U.S.,” Porter said.

The so-called “STACK” formation is a relatively small area in Oklahoma named for Sooner Trend, Anadarko, Canadian and Kingfisher. Anadarko is the formation, while Canadian and Kingfisher are counties.

“With this strategic mid-continent transaction, we are consolidating our working interest in our core mid-continent acreage and will be able to operationally control development decisions going forward,” Porter added.

The West Virginia wells’ new owner, Tug Hill, has multiple drilling agreements in Marshall County, but officials with the company could not be reached for comment. The company states on its website that its has been involved with more than 750 horizontal Marcellus Shale wells located in Pennsylvania and West Virginia since 2007.

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