Merit Energy No. 1 in gas production, Aera Energy leads OGFJ100P in liquids

Sept. 1, 2005
In the July issue of Oil & Gas Financial Journal, we gave you the first-ever rankings of the top 122 privately-held US-based E&P companies in total production (barrels of oil equivalent, or boe) for 2004.

In the July issue of Oil & Gas Financial Journal, we gave you the first-ever rankings of the top 122 privately-held US-based E&P companies in total production (barrels of oil equivalent, or boe) for 2004. We’ll break that down into total gas production and total liquids production in this report.

Click here to view in PDF.

Dallas-based Merit Energy Co. is the top-ranked private company in gas production by a wide margin with production of 152,069,230 Mcf. Merit is No. 2 in overall (boe) production to Aera Energy LLP, headquartered in Bakersfield, Calif. Aera is the runaway leader in boe production, but is mainly an oil producer, coming in a distant 21st place in the gas category.

Yates Petroleum Corp., Artesia, NM, is the No. 2 gas producer with 99,458,231 Mcf. Yates ranks No. 4 in boe. Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co. ranks No. 3 in gas production with 95,945,804 Mcf and also ranks No. 3 in boe.

The fourth-ranked gas producer is Samson Lone Star LP of Tulsa, Okla., with 94,130,662 Mcf produced in 2004. Samson Lone Star LP ranks No. 7 in boe production. Walter Oil & Gas Corp. of Houston is the fifth-ranked gas producer with 90,740,593 Mcf. Walter also ranks fifth in boe.

Rounding out the top 10 gas producers are Hunt Oil Co. of Dallas (88,338,234 Mcf); Tulsa-based Samson Resources Co. (70,549,222 Mcf); Red Willow Production Co., Ignacio, Colo. (61,556,694 Mcf); Kaiser-Francis Oil Co. of Tulsa (57,371,945 Mcf); and J-W Operating Co., headquartered in Addison, Tex. (49,749,080 Mcf).

A substantial portion of Hunt Oil’s production is outside the US. Hunt has conducted worldwide petroleum operations for 70 years and is one of the world’s leading energy companies. The low-cost operator currently conducts or participates in production operations in the US, Canada, Yemen, and Peru. Hunt is playing a major role in an LNG project in Yemen with the potential of bringing 10 tcf of gas reserves that Hunt discovered to world markets. Hunt’s Camisea Project in Peru will develop a gas resource estimated at more than 13 tcf.

Red Willow Production is owned by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe (SUIT), which is recognized by the US government as a sovereign nation with respect to its oil and gas operations in Colorado. The tribe’s newest assets are coalbed methane wells on or near the reservation that were acquired from Honolulu-based Kukui Inc. for $123.4 million in 2003.

Founded in 1960, J-W Operating Co. is composed of five primary business lines specializing in energy services and energy development. The company has about 900 employees in 50 offices throughout the mid-continent area. Cohort Energy Co. was formed in 1983 as the E&P component of J-W Operating Co. A company spokesman says Cohort currently keeps at least seven rigs operating continuously.

Interestingly, only four out of the top 10 gas producers appear on the top 10 list of liquids producers. Those companies are Merit Energy (No. 1 in gas, No. 2 in liquids), Hilcorp Energy (No. 3 on both lists), Walter Oil & Gas (No. 5 in gas, No. 7 in liquids), and Hunt Oil (No. 6 in gas, No. 8 in liquids).

The largest liquids producer by far is Aera Energy, which is also the largest total producer (boe). Aera leads both categories by wide margins.

No. 1-ranked Aera produced 79,090,702 bbl of liquids in 2004 and holds a wide lead over second-ranked Merit Energy with 13,862,894 bbl. However, as mentioned above, Aera’s production is oil-intensive, while Merit’s is more diversified between gas and liquids production.

Hilcorp Energy is the No. 3-ranked liquids producer with 9,289,663 bbl. Hilcorp is also No. 3 in gas production and in boe, so that firm’s production appears to be evenly balanced between gas and oil.

Citation Oil & Gas Corp., with headquarters in Houston, is the No. 4 liquids producer with 6,905,909 bbl. Citation, which ranks as the No. 12 company in total production, is only ranked 30th in gas production.

Midland, Tex.-based Endeavor Energy Resources LLP is the fifth-largest liquids producer among privately-held US E&Ps with 4,248,057 bbl. Endeavor is ranked 18th in total production, but comes in a mere 33rd in gas production.

The remaining top 10 liquids producers are Continental Resources Inc. of Enid, Okla. (4,209,895 bbl); Houston’s Walter Oil & Gas (4,198,101 bbl); Hunt Oil of Dallas (3,750,582 bbl); Bass Enterprises Production Co., headquartered in Fort Worth (3,504,479 bbl); and Marbob Energy Corp., Artesia, NM (3,490,267 bbl). OGFJ

John S. Herold Inc. provides data for report

John S. Herold Inc., an energy research and consulting firm with headquarters in Norwalk, Conn., has provided PennWell Corp., publisher of Oil & Gas Financial Journal, with the 2004 production information for privately-held E&P companies used in this report. If any of the numbers shown here differ from those of the companies listed, please contact Mikaila Adams, associate editor of OGFJ, at [email protected]. We will gladly update or correct any information, including the names of current company officials, that needs to be changed.