Petrosearch Forms JV to Explore Anadarko Basin Prospects

Petrosearch has formed a prospect-generation alliance targeting natural gas in the Anadarko basin of western Oklahoma with Amarillo, Texas, based Barbee Exploration, Inc., laying the groundwork to expand the scope of Petrosearch's exploration and production activities into another major hydrocarbon producing basin and yet another state.

Terms of the agreement call for Barbee Exploration -- headed by successful Independent Bill Barbee -- to generate Anadarko gas prospects exclusively for Petrosearch's exploration and production subsidiaries, drawing at first upon a very large inventory of quality gas prospects.

"In return, Petrosearch immediately will begin preparing seven of its exploration and production subsidiaries to drill and develop Barbee prospects," company president Bradley J. Simmons said. "Petrosearch subsidiaries already are developing oil discoveries in the Texas Gulf Coast and Williston Basin of North Dakota as well as acquiring acreage and preparing for upcoming drilling projects in Montana and Mississippi."

"The Barbee alliance brings some of the very best gas finders in this part of the country into the Petrosearch family," Simmons said. "It gives us major exploratory horsepower that should be reflected in the future successes of the Petrosearch subsidiaries that will be developing Barbee-generated prospects."

Rather than retire after selling his previous company, Tuthill and Barbee, to Hugoton Energy Corporation in 1994 (which was ultimately purchased by Chesapeake Energy Corporation [NYSE: CHK] in 1998), Bill Barbee assembled a team of prominent geologists with vast knowledge of gas trends in western Oklahoma and began aggressively generating prospects. Of the exploratory targets generated by Barbee in the past 10 years a majority have been successful with completion percentages significantly above industry averages.

For the alliance, Barbee and his team are to continue aggressively developing additional prospects in the region, concentrating on formations of intermediate depth, such as the Lower Morrow, Tonkawa and Chester, and Meramec limestones, all of which have surrendered prolific gas discoveries. No further specific details were released regarding the business terms of the alliance.

"In addition to the technical strength that will be supporting our efforts in the basin, this alliance also embodies the principles behind the Petrosearch business model, to motivate and mobilize the vast, overlooked human resources that comprise the intrinsic wealth of the energy industry," Simmons added. "Petrosearch works in such a way that everyone involved builds their independent part of our family and benefits from their efforts."

"The usual energy industry barriers or obstacles, including age, do not apply to our model or our family of subsidiaries. Time will tell if this is the right model, but I will take almost 200 years of successful gas finding experience in a major basin, such as we gained through this alliance, as a good sign that something about our model is working and being well received by the independents in the industry."