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New Midstream Venture 'Really Likes' the Permian

A group of midstream industry veterans thinks there are plenty of infrastructure opportunities left in the Permian Basin, as well as in East Texas and Oklahoma. They recently formed Vaquero Midstream LLC and secured backing from Yorktown Energy Partners LLC to go after them.

"We at Vaquero really like the Permian still," said CEO Gary Conway. "We think there's still a great amount of activity over there, specifically in the Delaware Basin. We like central Oklahoma and East Texas. I grew up in East Texas...Texas is home for me...We like those specific focus areas. It doesn't mean we wouldn't go to some other places if it was an emerging shale and a producer would really like us to perform there."

Based in The Woodlands, TX with an additional office in Dallas, Vaquero offers gathering, treating, processing, compression, liquids handling and transmission for oil and gas producers.

While the Permian Basin region is well built out with pipes and other infrastructure, there's room for more, and better, Conway told NGI's Shale Daily. For instance, in the southern area, some of the older infrastructure can't stand up to the higher pressures needed. "They don't always have the perfect infrastructure in order to get the value chain back," he said. "We still feel like there are solid opportunities for a midstream company like Vaquero."

In South Texas, the Eagle Ford is not up for consideration because Conway is still under a non-compete agreement. However, that rolls off next year, he said.

Conway founded the company late last year along with Bryant Patton and Williams Davis. Conway is the former vice president of engineering and operations at Eagle Ford Shale-focusedTEAK Midstream. He has also been an executive with Petrohawk/Hawk Field Services, Energy Transfer Partners and Crosstex Energy. Patton has been an investor, principal or adviser to more than 40 upstream and midstream companies across North America. He is the founder and president of Brycap Investments Inc. and has worked in the past with TEAK Midstream and Crosstex. Davis recently retired from Crosstex, where he was CFO and then COO.

Conway said Vaquero will have more of a greenfield focus than an emphasis on asset acquisition as it builds its infrastructure portfolio. Acquisitions aren't out of the question, but they'll be done only when they make sense, for instance, to tie-in other existing infrastructure via the acquisition of a strategic piece of pipe.

Vaquero is focused on capturing value for producers by providing flexible arrangements that accommodate commodity price volatility, Conway said. Contracting terms with producers to provide midstream services run the gamut these days, Conway said. Some customers are interested in joint ventures with various levels of participation. Others want rate base contracts and exactly predictable cash flow. Others go for percent of proceeds contracts, Conway said.

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