Westmoreland Gas, headquartered in Bridgeport, WV, was founded in August 2018 by two industry veterans, one with close ties to Mountain V Oil & Gas. According to a press release issued two days ago, Westmoreland closed on oil and gas assets in WV on Dec. 31, essentially launching the company.
Westmoreland Gas, as of Dec. 31, 2018, owns 132,000 gross acres (72,000 net acres) with 162 wells producing a cumulative 16 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of natural gas. Obviously the vast majority (perhaps all) of Westmoreland’s wells are conventional. But they do have an interest in drilling unconventional/shale wells, according to the co-CEOs of the company. (As an aside: We checked our Marcellus & Utica Shale Almanac and did not find any shale wells drilled/operated by Mountain V.)
The press release (below) says Westmoreland bought their assets from “a private seller.” We think there’s a good chance that private seller is Mountain V Oil & Gas. Why?
* According to Westmoreland’s website, “All of Westmoreland’s wells are contract operated by Mountain V Oil & Gas which has a history of successfully pursuing oil and gas in the region.”
* One of Westmoreland’s co-founders and co-CEOs, Mike Shaver, is also president of Mountain V, having founded the company with his dad.
* Both Westmoreland and Mountain V’s headquarters are in Bridgeport, WV.
* Mountain V’s website is currently being redesigned, according to a note on the home page. All the old pages are gone.
We’re not 100% sure, but it sure seems to us that Westmoreland Gas is the new Mountain V, operating under a new name with a new partner. The new partner (co-CEO) is Brian Akins, an investment banker in Appalachia oil and gas venture for 21 years. Akins is the money man, Shaver the hands-on guy. That’s how it looks to us, at a distance.
At any rate, here’s the Westmoreland announcement that the company is up and running with lots of acreage and a hankering to drill more conventional wells AND perhaps some shale wells too:
Westmoreland Gas, LLC is pleased to announce the successful acquisition of producing assets in West Virginia. The assets, which were producing approximately 16 MMcfe/d as of December 31, 2018, were acquired from a private seller and provide the basis for the Company to become a premier Appalachia natural gas producer.
The Company was founded in August 2018 with the intention of purchasing producing conventional and unconventional assets, improving operations and reducing costs, and securing value-added drilling opportunities through a long-term presence in the region. Collectively, Co-CEOs Mike Shaver and Brian Akins bring more than 60 years of experience in oil and gas operations and financial markets to the table, the majority of which is experience in Appalachia where the team maintains numerous, long-term relationships.
Westmoreland is targeting future acquisitions in West Virginia and Pennsylvania that are primarily gas, operated and conventional or unconventional with established long life, low decline production profiles. The Company is pursuing acquisition sizes of $5 million to $50 million.
Westmoreland is privately owned by Mike Shaver and Brian Akins with no other equity owners. Because of the Company’s concentrated ownership, Westmoreland can move quickly with no outside approvals needed. Between the founders liquidity and support from Cross First Bank, the Company’s lender, Westmoreland has sound financial backing.
“We are very excited to start 2019 with such an exceptional asset,” said Westmoreland Gas Co-CEO’s Brian Akins and Mike Shaver “Our experience in the region has allowed us to identify unique opportunities to continue to add value to our asset base. We are excited to add accretive assets to further expand our footprint in the basin and take advantage of the long-term increase in gas demand globally.”
WESTMORELAND GAS, LLC creates value utilizing a three-pronged approach in Appalachia by purchasing producing conventional and unconventional assets, improving operations and reducing costs, and securing value-added drilling opportunities through our long-term presence in the region. Westmoreland plans to capitalize on growing demand for natural gas and a deep understanding of Appalachia to grow the Company for the long term. The Company is headquartered in Bridgeport, West Virginia. (1)
We also located the following undated article focusing on Mountain V:
The winning combination of hard work and good people has been key to the growth of Mountain V Oil & Gas Inc., President S. Michael Shaver says. “We all get up early, stay late and everybody looks for opportunities,” he says.
Based in Bridgeport, W.V., Mountain V acquires and develops oil and gas reserves. Shaver and his father, Steve Shaver, founded the company in 1994 after many years in the industry.
“Our intent of going into business was to acquire mature oil and gas assets,” the younger Shaver recalls. “We were fortunate enough to acquire wells close to home, in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.”
When natural gas prices improved in 2002, Linn Energy acquired all of Mountain V’s legacy Pennsylvania assets, he recalls. Four years later, EXCO Resources Inc. purchased its West Virginia legacy assets.
After the death of his father in 2006, Michael Shaver started rebuilding Mountain V. “In last 20 years, we drilled close to 800 wells in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee,” he recalls. “We were also fortunate to have acquired some acreage in the sweet spots of the Marcellus, which Mountain V sold its interest to Range Resources and Rice Energy.”
Today, Mountain V owns and operates 1,041 wells in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, and produces primarily from the Upper Devonian, Oriskany and Marcellus Shale formations. It operates with a staff of 29 that has worked 18,298 hours in 2015 without a single accident.
Mountain V prefers to operate in the Appalachian Basin, Shaver says. “We have a history in the area, and have made a lot of good contacts and friends along the way that have enabled us to maximize our potential within the Basin,” he states.
Mountain V, through its 20-year history, performed all of its own roustabout services, and recently started offering those same quality roustabout services to other oil and gas companies. Shaver explains that this decision was made at a time when business was slow for the company.
“It was about 2012, and we had really stopped drilling for ourselves,” he recalls, noting that several of his longtime laborers were in danger of losing their jobs. “I was down to a decision that no one wants to make of having to lay them off.”
He instead kept them busy by offering those roustabout services to other oil and gas companies, which blossomed. “We do everything from building fence to rerouting pipelines to hooking up production facilities to grading roads,” Shaver says. “We do everything that’s labor intensive.”
In the past year, Mountain V grew its operations by acquiring the assets of six smaller, independent companies, Shaver says. Thanks to these purchases, “We’ve been able to cut costs and increase our production,” he says.
This has helped Mountain V, which has been watching its expenses due to low commodity costs. “We’ve also been fortunate to have some good partners that have the trust in Mountain V to invest with us,” Shaver adds.
These include CrossFirst Bank in Tulsa, Okla., and GE Capital. “The bank of CrossFirst has been great to work with [in regards] to the acquisitions we’ve been able to accomplish,” he says. “We’ve had a great relationship with GE Capital [which also] afforded us to look at larger deals.”
Mountain V plans to acquire more conventional oil and gas companies in the Appalachian Basin. “When you find a niche, that’s what you stick to,” Shaver says.
Shaver is proud of Mountain V’s workplace and staff. “It’s a good environment,” he says, noting that his key associates include Executive Vice President and Petroleum Engineer Mark Hackett. “He’s not a only an employee; he’s a great sounding board.”
Additionally, “We have a great support staff,” he continues. “They’re all working for the same thing, and that’s to improve the bottom line.”
Shaver says that the future of the company’s market is somewhat alarming, due to the low commodity prices. “[There’s also] the uncertainty with changing regulations not only on a state, but a federal level,” he says. “Times that are the hardest I’ve seen in 25 years.”
However, Shaver is remaining optimistic because of the pipelines that are being built locally. “There are a lot of jobs being created with the pipelines, which is good for the local economy,” he says. (2)
(1) Westmoreland Gas, LLC (Jan 22, 2019) – Westmoreland Gas Announces Acquisition of West Virginia Gas Assets
(2) Energy and Mining International (undated) – Mountain V Oil & Gas Inc.
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