Berry Petroleum and an unnamed industry partner have signed a joint exploration and development agreement with the Ute Indian Tribe to explore and develop 125,000 acres of tribal lands in the Uinta Basin in Utah. Berry also has agreed to purchase an interest in 46,000 acres of fee lands adjacent to or near the tribal acreage.

The new acreage is located immediately west of the company’s Brundage Canyon field, where Berry currently is producing about 4,500 boe/d, said CEO Bob Heinemann. “This acquisition is an excellent strategic fit as it builds on our Brundage Canyon asset and leverages our capabilities,” said Heinemann. “It increases the potential for the discovery of additional light oil and natural gas in our core area and enhances our ongoing relationship with the Ute Tribe.”

Berry said it plans to test the new acreage in shallow horizons down to 6,500 feet. Its ownership will be up to 75% in these zones. The company believes the horizons targeted in the shallow development zones could be a continuation of productive Green River zones on its Brundage Canyon property. Natural gas also will be the focus of the deeper horizons, primarily in the Wasatch and Mesaverde sections, and Berry said it will participate up to 25% in the development of the deeper zones. The Ute Indian Tribe plans to participate in both the shallow and deep programs with a working interest of 25%.

Michael Duginski, senior vice president of corporate development, said a successful development program on the new acreage “could make this a legacy asset for Berry.”

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