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Statoil Alums' Startup Targeting West Texas Oil Plays

Recent startup unconventional player Luxe Energy LLC is going after oil because that's where the money is, CEO Lance Langford told NGI's Shale Daily.

"With the success of these shale plays -- in particular just the super success of the Marcellus up in the Northeast -- we just have so much gas, and I don't see that changing anytime soon," Midland, TX-bred Langford said. "Whereas oil is a world market. It's a world commodity, and I think that we're in a low price environment. I feel like prices [for oil] are going to improve in the years in front of us."

Even though U.S. natural gas is poised to enter the world market via liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, Langford isn't impressed. "I think to make that work, the economics have got to be great. I think that someday LNG is going to impact that price. I just see the performance in the Marcellus as so phenomenal, and the Utica...That's just one area. I see a big oversupply of gas in the foreseeable future. That's my opinion. I'm more bullish on oil for the next 10 years than I am gas."

With $500 million of private equity funding from NGP Natural Resources XI LP -- the most recent Natural Gas Partners private equity fund focused on natural resources -- Luxe will be pursuing oily projects where it can apply its expertise in horizontal drilling and multistage hydraulic fracturing (fracking), Langford said.

He said his and his team's background is in the Bakken Shale, in particular, where current Luxe staffers were pioneers in drilling long laterals -- 10,000 feet -- and using up to 20 frack stages. Luxe staffers don't mind learning from others, though, either.

"The other part of it is trying to understand...It's strictly going into a play, looking at what people are doing. You look for outliers...That's what we do well. It's trying to understand what others are doing that works and doesn't work, and also we're always trying to improve by trying new techniques."

Austin-based Luxe hasn't settled on exactly where it will be applying its expertise to start, but it will be West Texas, Langford said. He and co-founder Jeff Larson have worked together for more than 24 years, starting with Burlington Resources and most recently at Statoil. Prior to joining they served as executive vice presidents at Brigham Exploration and were responsible for Brigham's entry into the Bakken.

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