Viper Capital Partners LLC, a Houston-based investment firm, has acquired rights across two conventional oilfields in western West Virginia, where an affiliate plans to develop Berea Sandstone wells with shallow horizontal drilling technology.
Viper said it’s acquired more than 12,000 acres in the Rock Creek and Tanner oilfields, which are in Roane and Gilmer counties, WV, respectively, as well as 371 existing oil wells. Affiliate Cunningham Energy LLC would develop the plays.
“The Rock Creek and Tanner fields have proven time and time again that conventional oil is an ongoing viable asset,” said Cunningham President Ryan Cunningham. “We intend to apply our newly adopted model of producing conventional reservoirs through the unconventional method of shallow horizontal drilling and completion.”
The legacy fields, he added, “represent an opportunity to tremendously improve shallow oil recovery efficiencies.”
Viper was formed to invest in conventional reservoirs where new techniques are being applied to maximize oil production, particularly in niche plays that may have been overlooked by other investment firms. Charleston, WV-based Cunningham has been active in western and central West Virginia, targeting legacy formations such as the Berea, Big Injun and Weir sandstones.
While Viper said it expects Cunningham to drill shallow horizontal wells in the Berea with a focus on oil production through 2020, it anticipates eventually applying the same techniques in the already proven Big Injun in Roane County and expanding development to the Maxton Sandstone in Gilmer County.
Viper did not disclose the terms of its acquisition. Legacy producers have long been active in regions south of the shale boom in the northern part of the state. Cunningham has sizeable shallow interests and some acreage for shale and deep drilling throughout the region.