Eclipse Resources has acquired the Oxford Oil Company LLC, with approximately 184,000 net acres in Ohio and 13.8 Bcfe of proved developed producing reserves. Oxford Oil was subsequently renamed to Eclipse Resources–Ohio LLC and will remain a wholly owned subsidiary of Eclipse Resources. In conjunction with the acquisition, the company has completed a private offering of $300 million of senior unsecured notes with the ability to sell an additional $100 million over the next 12 months to the note acquirers.
Prior to the acquisition, Eclipse Resources owned approximately 41,000 net acres in Belmont, Guernsey, Monroe and Noble counties in Ohio, where the largest wells in the Utica shale play have been reported to date. With the acquisition of Oxford, Eclipse Resources now owns approximately 90,000 net acres in these core Utica Shale counties, as well as in Harrison County, Ohio. Eclipse Resources has recently completed drilling a Utica Shale well in Monroe County, and has participated in five wells in Noble County that have shown strong initial production rates and high liquids yields. The company is currently running one rig in the play, and is participating, on a non-operated basis, in operations of three additional rigs in the play.
"We are excited to have completed this very significant acquisition, making Eclipse Resources one of the largest acreage owners in the ‘core’ of the Utica shale play in southeastern Ohio,” said Benjamin W. Hulburt, president and CEO of Eclipse Resources. “We plan to grow our operated Utica-focused rig count to up to five horizontal rigs running in the play between now and year-end 2014. We are planning a very active drilling program in Harrison, Guernsey, Noble, Belmont and Monroe counties, commencing immediately and continuing for the next several years. Concurrently, we will look to opportunistically add leases to enhance our already attractive, contiguous acreage base.
“While we plan to take a cautious approach to the oil window portion of the Utica shale play, our 135,000 net acres in that portion of the fairway offer Eclipse tremendous additional upside should the industry prove the economic viability of extracting oil from the Utica shale,” he said. “With the additional equity capital that has been invested in Eclipse Resources from our partner, EnCap Investments, and through our unsecured notes offering, we are very well positioned to develop our assets, and expect to realize very significant growth in the near future."
Eclipse Resources also announced that Marty L. Byrd will join the company July 1 as vice president–land. Most recently, he served as vice president, Land, Eastern Division–Appalachian Basin for Chesapeake Energy Corp., where he managed and coordinated land activities that established more than 600 horizontal well units and 400 horizontal wells with a 26-rig drilling program in the Marcellus shale play.
RBC Richardson Barr acted as financial advisor to Oxford Oil on the transaction. Jefferies LLC acted as exclusive placement agent to Eclipse Resources for the senior notes transaction, which was placed with funds and accounts, including those managed by GSO Capital Partners LP and Magnetar Capital.
Based in State College, Pennsylvania, Eclipse Resources is an oil and gas company focused on the acquisition, exploration and development of unconventional oil and natural gas properties in the Appalachian Basin, including the Utica, Marcellus and Upper Devonian shale plays.