Utah pure-play Rolling Rock Resources LLC, a subsidiary of Calgary-based Fortem Resource Inc., has inked a deal to farm out a portion of its leasehold in the Mancos formation in Grand County, UT, with an undisclosed party.

The undisclosed party agreed to commit up to $15 million in exchange for 100% operating interest in wells on the property, with Rolling Rock entitled to 20% of the income generated. 

The deal could turn into a joint venture, with the other party continuing as operator of the Uinta Basin wells.

Parent company Fortem in 2017 acquired stakes in 165,000 acres in southeastern Utah’s Moenkopi formation in Carbon and Emery counties from Black Dragon LLC. Since then, the Rolling Rock subsidiary has given Fortem the right to acquire a 75% working interest in 131,032 total acres in the Mancos.

Fortem also has a combined acreage of roughly 70,000 acres through two other subsidiaries -- Big Lake Energy and Colony Energy LLC.

Oil and gas development in Utah overall has been a mixed bag over the past few years. Despite year/year growth in crude production, with June volumes 12% higher year/year per data from the Energy Information Administration, regulatory conflicts have skewed the outlook on some of the state’s prospects.

A standoff between environmental groups and the Trump administration began amid the White House’s December 2017 proclamations, which reduced the size of the Bears Ears National Monument by 83% to 228,784 acres and trimmed the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by 46% to about one million acres.

Since then, BLM has auctioned leases in the contested areas but environmental groups have sued, resulting in federal authorities agreeing to suspend sales until there is an additional review. Most recently BLM revised its resource management plan for Grand Staircase-Escalante to add some limitations to mineral development activities.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Energy in July said it plans to invest $8 million in research conducted by the University of Utah into the Paradox Basin to test its resource potential.