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Australian Company Acquires 62,000 Acres in TMS From Encana

Australis Oil & Gas Co. has acquired all of Encana Oil & Gas Inc.'s remaining assets in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale (TMS) along the Louisiana/Mississippi border for $80 million.

Australis, headquartered in Australia, said it has acquired 62,000 operated net acres (35% held by production) in the core of the TMS from Encana. The acreage is adjacent to an existing 38,000-acre position in which Australis holds a 50% interest, the company said.

Encana Oil & Gas is a subsidiary of Calgary-based Encana Corp., which has focused its recent development dollars on the Permian Basin of West Texas, the Eagle Ford Shale and Canada's Montney and Duvernay formations.

With the acquisition, Australis brings its total position in the TMS to 81,000 net acres, making the company the largest holder in the play's oil rich core, the company said.

"The TMS Asset acquisition is the transformational acquisition we have been looking for since we formed Australis in late 2014," Chairman Jonathan Stewart said. "We've looked at many opportunities, have remained patient, and in our view nothing we have seen compares to the fundamental value and considerable upside potential that this transaction delivers."

Australis was formed by the founder and executives of the Eagle Ford-focused Aurora Oil & Gas Ltd., which was bought out by Calgary-based Baytex Energy Corp. in 2014.

"We see many parallels to the early days of the Eagle Ford," Stewart said of the TMS acreage. "We believe that our Aurora Oil & Gas experience in the Eagle Ford from discovery to full development and then sale in 2014 offers us key learnings to apply to generating significant value for shareholders. Australis will become the largest holder in the one of the few remaining undeveloped oil producing shale basins in the United States, and our large position is in the productive oil rich core of the TMS."

The newly-acquired acreage carries with it 1,900 b/d of net oil production as of Nov. 1, with proved developed producing reserves of 5 million bbl and 215 potential future well locations, Australis said.

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