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ExxonMobil Subsidiary to Jointly Explore Barnett Shale Assets

A subsidiary of ExxonMobil Corp. and two exploration companies on Monday announced a partnership to develop Barnett Shale properties in the Fort Worth Basin. Production from six wells drilled to date is expected to ramp up early next year.

Metroplex Barnett Shale LLC, ExxonMobil's subsidiary, will direct the operations. Joining Metroplex Barnett Shale in forming DDJET Ltd. LLP are Barnett Petrosearch LLC, a subsidiary of Houston-based Petrosearch Energy Corp., and Cinco County Barnett Shale LLC, a privately held Fort Worth, TX-based company.

"Given the contribution of both the upstream and downstream assets by all of the partners, we are confident that the overall economics of our new ownership interest are strong," said Petrosearch CEO Richard Dole.

The partnership's assets include all of the leases acquired to date within an eight-county contract area, as well as associated facilities that include almost 100 miles of pipeline and an option on a separate pipeline right-of-way.

Although it has remained mum about its Barnett exploration efforts (see Daily GPI, Nov. 17), ExxonMobil quietly entered the Barnett in late 2005 through a joint venture with privately held Harding Co., a small independent based in Dallas. The companies last year agreed to explore the Mansfield-Grand Prairie area in the southern Tarrant and northern Johnson counties of Texas. Harding then had about 25 Barnett wells in Johnson, Parker and Wise counties that were producing an average of 24.5 MMcf/d. Harding also has oil and gas operations in North Texas.

Earlier this year, ExxonMobil also entered into a joint venture agreement with Encore Acquisition Co. to develop seven gas fields in West Texas (see Daily GPI, March 29). Encore said then that targeted formations included the Barnett, Devonian, Ellenberger, Mississippian, Montoya, Silurian, Strawn and Wolfcamp horizons.

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