(MENAFN - AFP) State-owned Norwegian oil major Statoil said on Wednesday that it had bought 70,000 acres (283 square km) of land in the US Marcellus shale gas field for 590 million.
The area is rich in liquid gas, which is sold for a higher price than regular shale gas, spokesman Baard Glad Pedersen told AFP.
"Statoil is further strengthening its US onshore portfolio by acquiring additional acreage in the valuable liquid rich parts of the Marcellus shale in Ohio and West Virginia," Torstein Hole, a senior vice president, said in a statement.
The land, bought from US-based Grenadier Energy Partners, Protege Energy II and PetroEdge, currently produces 5,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day, and Statoil estimated its share of the reserves at 300 million to 500 million boe.
It said US shale represents "an increasingly important part of future energy supplies."
Statoil entered the Marcellus field in 2008 through a partnership with Chesapeake Energy, one of the world's largest producers of natural gas, and in 2010 the Oslo-based company bought into the liquid rich Eagle Ford Shale in Texas.
The following year it expanded into North Dakota and Montana through the acquisition of Brigham Exploration, after which it began operating leases in the Bakken and Three Forks formations.
Along with Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil has this year shifted its focus in the US shale sector to liquid products, after the price of dry natural gas plummeted due to a rapid increase in supply.
"The market for these products is substantially better paying than the current market for dry gas in the US," the company said.