EnerVest Ltd. and its master limited partnership EV Energy Partners LP (EVEP) have formed a multi-year joint venture with Houston’s Apache Corp. to explore about 400,000 acres in Central and East Texas formations that are located below the Austin Chalk formation.

EVEP and EnerVest, its general partner, will contribute the acreage and data; Apache will contribute its exploration and operations expertise and the initial exploration capital, according to EVEP.

At year-end 2006, EVEP and EnerVest together had about 39 Bcfe of proved and probable reserves in Central and East Texas. EnerVest earlier said it planned to sell some of its East Texas properties early in 2008.

“This is an exceptional deal for EVEP, EnerVest and Apache,” said John B. Walker, who is CEO of EVEP and EnerVest. “Apache is an excellent exploration company, and we are excited about working with them and the added value from the additional exploration and development of the deeper potential of this acreage.”

EnerVest, founded in 1992, acquires, develops and operates oil and gas fields on behalf of its institutional investors, and it currently operates 11,500 wells in 11 states. EnerVest formed EVEP in September 2006 (see Daily GPI, Nov. 16, 2006). In June an entity of the Houston-based partnership closed the largest private equity fund in its 15-year history with commitments of $1.02 billion (see Daily GPI, June 11).

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