There's 1 New Oil Play You Need to Put on Your Radar

By now most everyone has heard how the Bakken Shale of North Dakota and the Eagle Ford Shale of Texas are unshackling America from our dependence on foreign oil. However, beyond those two well-known plays are new oil-rich plays that continue to emerge all across the country. One of those plays is the Mancos Shale in New Mexico, which is one I think investors need to put on their radar.

Drilling down into the Mancos Shale
The Mancos Shale is located in New Mexico's San Juan Basin, which is an area that has produced hydrocarbons for decades. However, the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing is now being applied to the oil saturated rocks in the play. So far the early results look so promising that Encana (NYSE: ECA  ) believes it is capable of producing 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

As the following slide shows, the play has three hydrocarbon rich zones.

Source: Encana Investor Presentation (Link opens a PDF

Further, that slide notes that Encana sees it eventually becoming a low-cost, high-return play. While Encana is still early in delineating its position in the play, it sees enough promise in this new oil play to name it one of its five core plays.

Encana is not the only company that sees this play being a core growth asset in the future. WPX Energy (NYSE: WPX  )  also sees it fueling oil-rich growth. In fact, it sees its 2014 drilling plan fueling 275% year-over-year oil production growth in the play. As the following slide shows, WPX Energy's initial wells have produced promising results across its acreage position.

Source: WPX Energy Investor Presentation (Link opens a PDF)

While these wells aren't gushers by Eagle Ford or Bakken standards, the fact that the wells don't cost a lot to drill could make them very profitable to develop.

The strong results from Encana and WPX are encouraging other San Juan Basin operators like EV Energy Partners (NASDAQ: EVEP  ) to explore the potential of the Mancos Shale as well. As the following slide shows, EV Energy thinks that more than 20,000 of its acres in the region might be prospective for the Mancos Shale.

Source: EV Energy Partners Investor Presentation (Link opens a PDF

However, because EV Energy Partners is an income focused MLP it's planning on finding a joint venture partner for its position in the play. That partner will be getting in real early on what looks to be a nice oil play. Not only that but it will really help EV Energy Partners, which is mainly a natural gas focused company, to increase its oil production. This emerging oil-rich shale play could add important diversification to the company's production mix as well as help to secure its distribution.

Investor takeaway
While the industry is really early in developing this San Juan Basin oil field, the initial results look promising. Early wells might not be gushing with oil, but these wells are low-cost and should become high return once hitting full development mode. That could fuel solid long-term returns as well as providing additional oil exposure to gassy companies like Encana and EV Energy Partners. 

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Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (8)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 08, 2014, at 5:56 PM, peders01 wrote:

    Canaccord Genuity set a target price TODAY, April 8,2014 at $22.50 and marked it a HOLD. The price went right thru this and closed at $22.67.

    So, either it is running ahead of itself or the market thinks Canaccord is dead wrong.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2014, at 10:12 AM, dotdoctor wrote:

    America producing her own oil is a positive step for us so long as we retain this fossil fuel dependency. Hopefully we will evolve and only require fossil fuels for a very minimum number of items but we are not there yet so this is good news. I do see this "new" shale appears to be situation in the 4-Corner's region. Since this is primarily Native American land; I hope any drilling and land disruption is with respect to the great sanctity that the Native American's hold for the land. Hopefully the income from the new wells can benefit the tribes. They could definitely use the money and the US the oil. Now if all this can just be accomplished in harmony.

  • Report this Comment On April 29, 2014, at 4:58 PM, barber3138 wrote:

    I would like to have the name of an oil co. in lubbock , odessa ,texas area that the stock is priced under 25.00 dollars . thanks Doyle Barcroft

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Matt DiLallo

Matthew is a Senior Energy and Materials Specialist with The Motley Fool. He graduated from the Liberty University with a degree in Biblical Studies and a Masters of Business Administration. You can follow him on Twitter for the latest news and analysis of the energy and materials industries:

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