Endurance Resources Holdings LLC announced Monday that Lime Rock Partners, a global energy-focused private equity firm, had committed $100 million for Endurance to acquire oil-focused assets and additional opportunities in two Southeast New Mexico counties that overlay the Bone Spring formation.

Endurance, a newly formed exploration and production company based in Dallas, said Lime Rock's growth equity commitment will help it acquire producing and development assets currently being operated by Endurance in the Bone Spring and other plays in the Delaware Basin, and will allow it to pursue additional opportunities in Eddy and Lea counties, NM.

"Over the last five years, the Delaware and other parts of the Permian Basin have led the American oil renaissance with new play concepts, large production increases, and the application of new technology and techniques," said Endurance CEO Don Ritter. "We are excited to be partnering with a group like Lime Rock, which has demonstrated considerable success in its existing investments in the Permian."

Endurance's website says the company and its affiliates hold approximately 16,000 net acres in the Bone Spring formation and the Delaware Basin, all of which are held by production.

According to Baker Hughes data, there were 44 rigs (28 horizontal, 13 vertical, 3 directional) operating in Eddy County, and 33 rigs (26 horizontal, 6 vertical, 1 directional) operating in Lea County, during the week ending Jan. 4. All but one of the rigs were targeting oil in the Permian Basin; one horizontal rig in Eddy County was trained on natural gas.

Eddy and Lea counties are two of 11 counties in New Mexico and Texas that are considered the range of the dunes sagebrush lizard (DSL). Last summer the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declined to add the DSL to a list of animals protected by the federal Endangered Species Act after regulators in both states agreed to minimize the impact from oil and natural gas development on the lizard's habitat (see Shale Daily, June 18, 2012).

One year ago Victory Energy Corp. said it successfully re-entered a well in Lea County five years after it was plugged and got it to produce oil and natural gas (see Shale Daily, Jan. 3, 2012). Although the well has been drilled into the Mississipian Detrital carbonite formation, Victory said it is near other unconventional natural gas wells targeting the Avalon Shale and the Bone Spring.