Eagle Energy CEO speaks at Wildcatter luncheon
BY ROD WALTON World Staff Writer
Thursday, September 06, 2012
9/06/12 at 2:53 AM
Read more energy stories that impact Tulsa.
Steve Antry takes pride in his Tulsa ties. His latest oil and gas company, Eagle Energy LLC, is even named in homage to his alma mater, Edison High School.
But the story of Eagle Energy has a larger scale to many who hear it. Antry and his team worked to grow Eagle tenfold in less than three years, culminating with a $625 million sale to Midstates Petroleum Co. that is scheduled to close next month.
"If this isn't the American dream, I don't know what is," Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association President Mike Terry said after hearing Antry speak at his organization's Wildcatter Wednesday luncheon at the Tulsa Country Club.
The speed and scope of Eagle Energy's ascent, including its move into the now-popular and liquids-rich Mississippian Lime trend, surprised even Antry himself. And he is a man who knows the art of the deal, having built up Beta Oil & Gas Inc. before selling it to Petrohawk for $60 million eight years ago.
"Eagle has not even had its third anniversary," Antry said of the latest startup, which started with $60 million in December 2009. "It's one of those deals where everything went horribly right."
Antry and his team, including Eagle President Mike O'Kelley, were called "early pioneers" in the Mississippian Lime, a formation spread out 6,000 feet beneath north-central Oklahoma and southern Kansas. Once considered a played-out conventional field, the horizontal drilling movement spearheaded by Eagle, Oklahoma City-based Sand- Ridge Energy and others has hit a jackpot in a formation now considered to have more acreage than the top-performing Bakken Shale of the Northern Great Plains.
The Eagle deal will double the size of Houston-based Midstates Petroleum to about 15,000 barrels of oil equivalent production per day. Publicly traded Midstates' previous focus was in southern Louisiana.
Antry noted that Midstates already is working to hire many of Eagle's employees and plans to maintain an office locally beyond the deal's one-year transition period. He pointed out that Midstates CEO John Crum previously worked for Apache Corp., which maintains a regional headquarters in Tulsa.
"They're going to be a welcome addition to the Oklahoma oil family," Antry said. "John Crum is well aware of Tulsa due to Apache's presence here."
Antry admitted that he was barely aware of the Mississippian's huge potential when Eagle made its first acquisitions in 2010. The company actually was going after properties in the Hunton formation and took on the Mississippian almost as an afterthought. His colleague O'Kelley was impressed by the play's data points and told the team to take a deeper look.
Eagle spudded its first Mississippian well in June 2010 and is now drilling its 60th well overall. Antry credited the Riverstone Holdings equity firm with making the initial investment in Eagle and noted that his company is its Fund 4's highest performing asset.
"In 2011 it was drill, baby, drill," Antry said. "We did risk a lot of credit in the beginning, but Riverstone let us do that and, well, fortune goes to the bold."
Antry took about four years off between selling Beta and starting Eagle. He expects no such lapse this time around and said Riverstone is eager to find more investment properties in domestic drilling.
Some may think that the oil and gas industry is a dog-eat-dog world, but Antry applauded so-called Mississippian rivals such as Sand- Ridge and Tulsa-based RAM Energy (now Halcon) with a "spirit of cooperation" in figuring what to make of the data there.
"I don't think you'd get the same level of cooperation in Houston," he said. "Oklahoma is a tight-knit oil community."
Steve Antry timeline
Original Print Headline: Eagle Energy has gone 'horribly right'
- 1997: Antry founds Beta Oil & Gas Inc.
- 1999: Beta goes public with IPO.
- 2000: Beta moves to Tulsa with Red River Energy acquisition.
- 2004: Beta merges with company that becomes Petrohawk Energy Corp.
- 2009: Antry starts Eagle Energy LLC with $65 million from Riverstone Holdings.
- 2010: Eagle buys up properties in Mississippian and Hunton formations and begins drilling.
- August 2012: Midstates Petroleum Co. agrees to buy Eagle assets for $650 million in cash and stock.
Rod Walton 918-581-8457
Steve Antry: He and his team worked to grow Eagle Energy tenfold in less than three years, culminating with a $625 million sale.