June 3, 2013 / 5:09 PM / in 4 years

Bellatrix scraps C$300 mln JV with Korean firm, shares fall

June 3 (Reuters) - Canadian oil and gas producer Bellatrix Exploration Ltd said it has terminated a C$300 million ($290 million) joint venture agreement signed with an unidentified South Korean company, sending its shares down as much as 14 percent.

The deal, signed in January, fell through because of a change in the nature of the investor behind the Seoul-based company "from more of a government to a commercial enterprise", Chief Financial Officer Edward Brown told Reuters.

Under the terms of the agreement, the South Korean investor had until May 31 to complete the deal to help Bellatrix develop its Cardium shale deposits in west-central Alberta.

The South Korean partner had agreed to pay C$150 million for a 33 percent working interest in a planned 83-well program.

"They need to do further due diligence. So we can't keep extending until we can have a definitive service closing schedule," Brown said.

The Calgary-based company is now looking for alternative partnerships with both Asian and non-Asian parties, Brown said, adding that it could be a few months before any announcement.

Apart from Cardium, Bellatrix has other assets in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia's Peace River Arch region.

Brown said spending and production would be affected in the second half of the year because of the joint venture delay. Capital expenditure revisions will be determined next month.

The company increased its full-year capital expenditure forecast to between C$230 million and C$240 million when the joint venture agreement was signed, up from C$180 million.

Bellatrix also raised its average daily production forecast to 24,000-25,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) for the year, from about 20,000-21,000 boe/d.

Bellatrix shares were down 8 percent at C$5.00 at midday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. They touched a low of C$4.70. ($1 = 1.0346 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Krithika Krishnamurthy in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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