Eclipse Resources Corp. again added acreage in Ohio's Monroe County last week after bidding successfully during the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's latest auction for leases in the Wayne National Forest (WNF).
Eleven bidders registered for the auction, including Gulfport Energy Corp. and an EdgeMarc Energy Holdings LLC affiliate. While those companies came up short, Eclipse won 17 of the 20 parcels available for oil and natural gas development in the auction. The Ohio pure-play leased 987 acres for nearly $3.6 million.
West Virginia-based Flat Rock Development LLC also won 120 acres for about $1.2 million, and lease trader Philip L. White of New Mexico leased 40 acres for $400,260, according to results released by the BLM this week.
Eclipse, which took the most acreage during the BLM's last auction for WNF properties in December, paid about $1,000-9,000 per acre for the 17 parcels it won in the most recent auction. Eclipse paid roughly $927,500 for 426 acres in Monroe County in December. Gulfport, Flat Rock and Texas-based Petrogas Co. also won leases during that sale.
BLM said in 2015 it was considering leasing about 18,000 acres that the oil and gas industry had nominated for unconventional development in the forest.
The federal agency has issued a favorable final environmental assessment for the larger Marietta Unit, which consists of 40,000 acres in Monroe, Washington and Noble counties that could ultimately be leased. Since then, BLM has leased more than 1,800 acres in the forest for about $6.8 million. There are already more than 1,000 active conventional wells in the forest, many of which are on federal land.
Eclipse holds more than 100,000 net acres in the state across a position that covers Noble, Guernsey, Monroe, Belmont and Harrison counties.