An Emerging Oil Shale Company With Potential

Samson Oil and Gas (AMEX: SSN  ) got on many energy investors' radars last year when it sold roughly 22,700 net acres of its Niobrara shale acreage to Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK  ) . The deal was for $74 million, which valued the land at more than $3,000 per net acre.

This deal provided breathing room for Samson, which had less than $6 million in cash and a book value of just $25 million going into the deal. Flush with cash after the transaction, Samson proceeded to plan the development of its remaining assets.

Samson's main asset is its Hawk Springs project, which includes 16,391 net acres in the Niobrara shale and numerous targets in its conventional Permian/Pennsylvanian oil play. In addition to the Hawk Springs project, Samson also has a 1,200-net-acre position in the Bakken shale in the North Stockyard Field in North Dakota.

Just last week, Samson provided an operational update which boasted successful completion of its Rodney No. 1-14H well in the North Stockyard and its plans to drill two wells in the Hawk Springs project in Wyoming. Drilling is anticipated to begin later this month on the first of the two wells in its Hawk Springs project.

Making bold moves
In a transaction late last month, Samson agreed to acquire 20,000 acres in the Bakken shale in the Fort Peck Indian Reservation located in Roosevelt County, Mont. The deal was with Fort Peck Energy and allows Samson the option to acquire up to 70,000 more acres in the future. Unfortunately, the price per acre was not disclosed.

According to Samson's technical staff, the Roosevelt project is located in an attractive but largely undrilled location that is part of the Bakken oil formation. Fortunately, Samson is not alone in making this claim -- neighbors in its new acreage play include larger players Brigham Exploration (Nasdaq: BEXP  ) , Continental Resources (NYSE: CLR  ) , and EOG Resources (NYSE: EOG  ) .

Through this transaction, Samson adds substantially to its oil acreage. In addition to its drilling plans for the Hawk Springs project and the Bakken shale in North Dakota, Samson plans on drilling two horizontal wells in its new Roosevelt project to assess the productivity of its acreage. The two-well drilling program will be done in cooperation with Halliburton (NYSE: HAL  ) , with which Samson is also partnering in its Hawk Springs project.

Foolish bottom line
The market likely won't assign a higher valuation to Samson until it sees results. This means pulling oil out of the ground and selling it. Resources in the ground aren't worth nearly as much as resources that are in production. With a healthy net cash position -- rare for a small-cap resource play -- Samson is in prime position to develop its acreage and start earning some revenue from the oil on its land.

To learn how to profit from high oil prices, read about "3 Stocks for $100 Oil."

Paul Chi owns shares of Chesapeake Energy. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Chesapeake Energy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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