Oil company launches with $300M in private equity

Big Oil had a rough fourth quarter in its North American sector, plagued by low natural gas prices and insufficient pipeline infrastructure, but smaller exploration and production companies still see plenty of oil in the same hills – and are hoping to benefit.

The latest to join the fray is Tulsa, Okla.-based Bright Horizon Resources, a newly formed exploration and production company. Bright Horizon received $300 million in private equity on Thursday to start up operations, as it sets its sights on exploration in the Anadarko basin in Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, as well as other resource plays.

“We’re probably looking more toward conventional type reservoirs, using similar advanced hydraulic techniques that made the shales take off,” said Dudley Viles, the CEO of Bright Horizon Resources. “We are more focused in looking for opportunities in somewhat established areas that we think could benefit from those types of technologies.”

Read more: Private equity hunts for Brazil’s next big oil startup

Denham Capital, an energy and resources-focused global private equity firm, said it chose to invest in Bright Horizon because of the management team’s extensive experience and proven exploration performance.

Viles brings a 30-year background in prospect generation, leasing and drilling programs, acquisitions and capital allocation. He formerly  worked as the executive vice president of Samson Resources, a private exploration and production company.

Viles said Bright Horizon will focus on oil and gas liquids projects, which are more economic given current low natural gas prices.

“There could be some distressed natural gas opportunities in the future,” Viles said. “We could see buying a set of properties that had significant potential with a modest increase in natural gas prices. People are bullish on natural gas, but right now it is difficult to find economics in the project.”