Private Equity Shale Specialist EnerVest Fires 111 Workers

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EnerVest Ltd., a private equity firm that specializes in shale drilling, fired 111 people at its Houston headquarters, citing “challenging times for the industry.”

The job cuts were made “in an effort to right-size our company and ensure a successful future,” company spokeswoman Lindsey Welch said in an email on Monday.

Private-equity firms that helped fuel the rapid expansion of shale exploration for more than a decade have seen their business model evaporate after back-to-back oil busts spooked investors and dried up the market for assets. Publicly traded drillers that once were eager to snap up oil and gas properties assembled by private backers are instead focused on conserving cash and restraining output growth.

EnerVest sold its Eagle Ford Shale wells and drilling rights in 2018 for $2.4 billion in a transaction that created Magnolia Oil & Gas Corp. Under the terms of that deal, EnerVest operated the assets on behalf of Magnolia, which is led by former Occidental Petroleum Corp. Chief Executive Officer Stephen Chazen. A Magnolia spokesman declined to comment.

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