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EnerVest Builds Portfolio in Eagle Ford, Nora Field

EnerVest Ltd. has agreed to pay $1 billion for two separate packages of onshore, unconventional properties, including one in the Eagle Ford Shale, where the Houston-based operator has been particularly acquisitive.

In one transaction, the producer disclosed it is the $876 million buyer of Range Resources Corp.'s natural gas-rich properties in the Nora field; Range had not disclosed the buyer earlier (see Shale DailyNov. 4). Included in the Range purchase is acreage and operated coalbed methane, tight gas, Berea, Big Lime and Huron Shale producing wells in Virginia's Dickenson, Buchanan, Wise and Russell counties and in West Virginia's Nicholas and Clay counties.

"This acquisition adds to EnerVest's significant position in Appalachia, and includes additional drilling opportunities at today's commodity prices," said CEO John B. Walker. "In addition, there are potential future exploration opportunities below the existing producing zones."

According to EnerVest, the Range transaction includes 365,000 net acres, of which 220,000 are all of the mineral rights in Virginia with about 100,000 more acres in West Virginia, with an inventory of 9,000 undrilled locations. The acreage is 37% proved developed, with 73% of proved value. The land also includes a 1,500-mile gathering system.

EnerVest didn't disclose the seller of the Eagle Ford properties, worth about $125 million. The purchase includes more than 2,200 boe/d, part of "an active drilling program on an ongoing basis." It includes 7.8 million boe of reserves across 1,760 net acres.

The Eagle Ford purchase is the second announced by EnerVest since late September, and for a similar amount. Alta Mesa Holdings agreed six weeks ago to sell to EnerVest its Eagle Ford-focused unit Alta Mesa Eagle LLC for $125 million (see Shale DailySept. 22).

EnerVest, long an acquisition-focused company, in 2014 alone participated in 10 buy/sell transactions in the U.S. onshore, and it built its portfolio in the Anadarko, Permian and Uintah basins. With more than 36,000 wells, EnerVest's diversified assets include operations across 15 states, with 6 million acres under lease.

EnerVest in 2006 created EV Energy Partners LP, a separate, publicly traded partnership that is designed to participate in joint ventures or acquire assets directly from EnerVest, as well as buy exploration assets by itself. The arrangement allows the company "to keep valued employees and mitigate market volatility, allowing both companies to focus on and flex their respective strengths."

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