Waiting on a Buyer, Dallas-Based Chief Oil Plans To Start Drilling in the City By Year's End

Last week around this time, the Wall Street Journal was telling us about three very private oil and gas companies -- two of them based in Dallas -- with designs on getting bigger in the gas drilling world. So, to help take their operations up a notch, both Talon Oil & Gas and Chief Oil & Gas are looking for buyers.

The sale of Chief -- one of the big-time players in East Coast gas drilling with 560,000 acres in New York and Pennsylvania's Martellus shale region -- could leave the 236th-richest-American Trevor Rees-Jones with around $3 billion in spending money. According to the Journal, Rees-Jones made a cool $2.2 billion in 2006 when he sold his company's assets in the North Texas Barnett Shale to Devon Energy.

But it appears as though Rees-Jones isn't waiting for a new buyer to take another hack into the Barnett Shale, where Chief has its eyes on five private drilling sites within Dallas proper. That comes as part of the report's broader look at gas drilling's creep into Dallas, which the News also tackled at length on Sunday.

After taking a look at XTO Energy's plans for city-owned sites they've leased, yesterday's report from Platts turned to Chief spokeswoman Kristi Gittins with this news: "Dallas-based Chief Oil & Gas plans to drill its first well within the city limits of Dallas before the end of the year." While city-owned mineral lease sites creep as far into town as Love Field Airport, Chief's looking at a spot out well away from the city center, closer to D/FW International Airport:

Although it lies within the Dallas city limits, the area "is like an island surrounded on all sides by other cities. Back before there was any development, the city of Dallas annexed the land to Texas Utilities to build a power plant," she said.

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Patrick Michels
Contact: Patrick Michels

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