Exploration and drilling venture gets endorsement
A. Lee Graham
Newly formed Titan River Energy LLC of Fort Worth takes its name from the heavens but remains earthbound when it comes to business: oil and gas exploration and production.
Named after Saturn’s largest moon – “the only place other than Earth where we’ve discovered [liquid] hydrocarbons,” said CEO Charles “Chip” Simmons – the company has received a $100 million capital commitment from Ridgemont Equity Partners in North Carolina and Post Oak Energy Capital of Houston for exploration and drilling in oil shale fields. Titan said on March 27 that it will likely start in the Eagle Ford Shale play.
Terms of the investment arrangement were not disclosed.
The financial commitment comes as Titan sets its drilling and development sights on oil-rich shale plays statewide by pursuing joint ventures, farm-ins and organic leasing opportunities. Titan River management also is contributing funds to the venture.
But what sets the company apart in the exploration and production universe?
“One of the things that differentiates Titan River is we’ve got all the capability to not only pursue land acquisitions but also geologic assessments, drilling and completion and operations,” Simmons said.
The company leased 2,500 square feet of office space at 616 Texas St. in downtown Fort Worth for its corporate headquarters, with additional offices in The Woodlands, near Houston. Though it is only beginning to discuss where to undertake drilling, the company is already talking expansion.
“We expect to grow, and when we do, we’ll need more specialists and will move,” said president and COO Lee Matthews.
Matthews and Don W. Pearce, the company’s executive vice president of drilling operations, worked at Cornerstone NG Engineering, a petroleum consulting firm whose expertise in the Barnett, Eagle Ford and Woodford shale plays provided the industry expertise to move from consulting for oil and gas producers to forming their own oil and gas company.
Asked whether Titan River was an extension of Cornerstone or an entirely new entity, Matthews explained, “It’s a hybrid. So you have Cornerstone people coming forward and adding two team players.”
Matthews founded Cornerstone, while Simmons previously was managing director of Pharos Financial Group and Clear Creek Capital, a Dallas-based private equity firm. Rounding out Titan River’s management team are Kent A. Bowker, executive vice president of geology, and Brennan R. Potts, vice president of land and business development.
Calling the formation of an upstream operating company – one engaged in oil and natural gas exploration, production and gathering facilities – “a lifelong goal of mine,” Matthews lauded his colleagues and the financial backing of Ridgemont and Post Oak.
Representatives of the financial partners echoed that enthusiasm.
“We have known these guys, Chip and Lee, for a pretty long time and felt like the team was a really attractive team with complementary skills that could take advantage of the oil and gas marketplace,” said John Shimp, a partner at Ridgemont.
“Other companies don’t have the full suite of disciplines necessary for full development,” said Ryan Mathews, a partner at Post Oak.
Though based in Fort Worth, Titan River casts its net statewide for possible production locations.
“We have a lot of experience in the Eagle Ford [Shale] and clients at Cornerstone at the Eagle Ford. It’s an area we know well,” said Matthews, adding that operations could cross state lines.
“We’re not totally limited to Texas, but our preference is to get started in our home state,” Matthews said.
More information about Titan River Energy is available at www.titanriverenergy.com.