Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) said Tuesday it has acquired Barnett Shale properties from ConocoPhillips. The deal is the latest in the private equity giant’s march into North American gas shale plays.

Following the $40 million acquisition of Southeast Texas oil and gas assets in November, the transaction is the second investment made by KKR Natural Resources (the partnership of KKR and Premier Natural Resources formed to pursue investments in North American oil and gas properties).

Located in north central Texas and producing out of the Barnett Shale formation, the assets contain 93 Bcfe of net proved reserves (based on a third-party estimate) of which more than 90% are proved developed producing (PDP), according to KKR.

“With a high PDP reserve component in a well known reservoir, these assets are precisely the types of properties KKR Natural Resources was designed to pursue. We are excited about these assets and continue to be excited about the opportunity to acquire additional oil and gas properties in North America,” said Jonathan Smidt, a member at KKR and a senior member of KKR’s energy and infrastructure business.

KKR announced its partnership with Premier last February. Founded in 2006 by former executives of Vintage Petroleum Inc., Premier operates assets in the Texas Gulf Coast and the Permian Basin.

In June KKR agreed to invest up to $400 million in Hilcorp Resources Inc., a newly formed partnership created to own and develop 100,000 net acres in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas (see Daily GPI, June 15, 2010).

Last fall KKR and RPM Energy LLC formed RPM Energy Partners LP to target joint venture (JV) opportunities with exploration and production companies in unconventional plays. The partners said the industry is ripe with opportunity driven by the capital requirements of oil and gas producers as they seek to develop newly acquired shale resource positions (see Shale Daily, Oct. 28, 2010).

And last December KKR and El Paso Midstream Group Inc. announced a $1 billion-plus JV to focus on domestic midstream projects in some of the big shale plays (see Shale Daily, Dec. 8, 2010).