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James Burgess

James Burgess

James Burgess studied Business Management at the University of Nottingham. He has worked in property development, chartered surveying, marketing, law, and accounts. He has also…

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The Important Roles of Risk and Stealth in the Eagle Ford Shale Discovery

The Eagle Ford Shale is one of the biggest shale fields in the world and one of the biggest developments in Texan oil and gas for decades; and it all exists due to big risks and stealthy business by Petrohawk Energy Corp.

Successful wells had been drilled near to the area previously, but with inconsistent results, and by 2007 it appeared that the area was drilled out.

So when a man appeared offering to lease thousands of acres of Joe Martins family property for $175 per acre he was delighted. “We were eager to do any kind of lease in La Salle County,” he said. “We had no idea, even after they paid us, what they were looking for. We were just very happy to lease the land.”

However Martin wasn’t the only property owner to be approached at that time. In a prime example of stealth Petrohawk managed to lease 100,000 acres of the La Salle county within just two months, without raising the suspicions of other shale companies, or the landowners, which would have boosted prices. Not all landowners are happy today knowing that the lease of their land was worth $10,000 per acre, but then at the time no one knew for certain that any shale deposits existed in the area.

It all started when Floyd C. Wilson, former CEO of Petrohawk, asked Dick Stoneburner, then chief operating officer, to find more sites for shale production following their success with another site in Haynesville. Stoneburner went to his friend Gregg Robertson who was a geologist with good knowledge of shale in the area. Robertson worked with a select group from Petrohawk’s top echelons, and eventually came up with a proposal which Wilson took just one look at and accepted.
“We decided in 15 minutes to be heads-up partners and start leasing. We did it on a handshake,” he said. “Gregg had done great work.”

Robertson was given money to secure the leases on the land needed, and the rest is history. In just a few months Petrohawk discovered the Eagle Ford shale field which sparked a frenzy of deals , drilling, and investment from major energy companies around the world. In August of last year BHP Billiton of Australia bought Petrohawk for $15.1 billion following the success of the Robertson-Petrohawk Partnership.

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com


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