Marubeni, Marathon in U.S. oil shale deal

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp (8002.T: Quote, Profile, Research) will buy a stake in a shale oil project in the United States from Marathon Oil Corp (MRO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) for about $270 million, the companies said on Tuesday.

Under terms of the deal, Marubeni will receive a 30 percent working interest in Marathon’s 180,000 acres in the Niobrara Shale field in Wyoming and Colorado for $5,000 per acre.

Marathon is currently acquiring seismic data and expects to participate in eight to 12 exploration wells by the end of the year. Houston-based Marathon will be operator of the jointly owned acreage, it said.

Last October, trading house Itochu Corp (8001.T: Quote, Profile, Research) signed a deal to buy a 25 percent stake in a shale oil project in Wyoming, and Mitsubishi Corp (8058.T: Quote, Profile, Research) has joined a shale gas project in Canada, the Nikkei business daily reported.

Marathon and Marubeni expect to close this transaction by April 28.

(Reporting by Anna Driver in Houston and Sayantani Ghosh in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das and Steve Orlofsky)

Marubeni, Marathon in U.S. oil shale deal