Texas-based EV Energy Partners had no new land sales to announce Tuesday in the Utica shale in eastern Ohio.
The firm reported it is proceeding to investigate drilling for oil in Stark and Tuscarawas counties with a still-unnamed partner.
Those items highlighted the company’s third-quarter call on earnings and operations with analysts and the media.
Additional Utica land sales will be announced as deals are completed, said executive chairman John B. Walker.
“But this is too valuable not to be patient,” he said of continuing sale efforts.
His company is convinced that Utica values are increasing because of initial drilling results and from infrastructure that is being developed, he said.
Last September, in its first Utica sale, the EnerVest Ltd. companies announced they were selling 22,535 acres in Guernsey, Harrison and Noble counties to an undisclosed buyer for $284.3 million.
The buyer was widely reported to be former Chesapeake Energy Corp. CEO Aubrey McClendon, and his new company, American Energy Partners.
The sale was approved by EV Energy Partners, the publicly traded arm of EnerVest, along with certain institutional partnerships managed by EnerVest Ltd.
Additional acreage in eastern Ohio is up for sale by the EnerVest companies.
EV Energy Partners has been trying to sell the Utica holdings since late last year. It announced plans last fall to sell up to 539,000 acres in Ohio.
The Houston company has said it decided to sell off the leased land rather than invest the money to drill natural gas-oil wells itself. Each well can cost $6 million to $10 million.
EnerVest is a partner with Chesapeake Energy Corp. and French energy company Total SA in drilling on 619,000 acres in 10 counties in eastern Ohio. It is a key player in investing in pipelines and gas-processing facilities in eastern Ohio.
EV Energy Partners has said it intends to keep an additional 73,500 acres in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, at least for now.
EnerVest is one of Ohio’s largest oil and gas companies with 8,700 vertical wells in Ohio. It was the largest producer from traditional gas and oil wells in Ohio and generated 25 percent of Ohio’s natural gas before the Utica shale boom.
Company officials offered little new information on its efforts to develop a successful oil drilling plan with 20 exploratory wells in Stark and Tuscarawas counties. That drilling could begin late this year.
The company is seeking to locate and develop what’s called the volatile Utica oil window that drillers so far have largely been unable to tap.
The project’s partner was identified by Walker only as a privately held energy company with acreage near EnerVest’s holdings.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or email@example.com.