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Ward’s Tapstone Energy to Buy Kansas Assets From Shell

Tapstone Energy LLC, the closely held oil and natural gas company founded by former SandRidge Energy Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tom Ward, agreed to buy all of Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s assets in Kansas.

The purchase, which covers more than 600,000 acres in the Mississippian Lime play, is expected to close in March, the companies said today. Both Shell and Oklahoma City-based Tapstone declined to give a price for the deal or disclose production data.

Ward, who also co-founded Chesapeake Energy Corp. with Aubrey McClendon in 1989, made the Mississippian Lime beneath Kansas and Oklahoma one of his core holdings at SandRidge. That company now has 1.85 million acres in the formation, producing about equal amounts of oil and natural gas.

Shell said in October it was looking to sell various assets, including in Kansas. Shell started drilling on the acreage in 2011 and decided it didn’t meet targets for best value, Kimberly Windon, a spokeswoman for The Hague-based company, said in an e-mailed statement.

Ward formed Tapstone using his own capital last year after he was fired from SandRidge. Ward was ousted days before an activist shareholder was poised to gain control of the board after investors questioned transactions he and his family members made with the company.

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