Warburg-Backed Shale Driller Taps Evercore to Explore Options

Ensign Natural Resources LLC has hired investment bank Evercore Inc. to help evaluate options after receiving some inbound interest in its assets, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The oil explorer isn’t running an official sale process and hasn’t yet received any offers, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. Its management hired Evercore amid a wave of consolidation in the oil patch as companies look to strengthen their balance sheets amid a rebound in energy prices.

Representatives for Ensign and Evercore declined to comment.

Ensign was formed in 2017 with backing of private equity firms Warburg Pincus and Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors. The Houston-based driller snapped up Eagle Ford shale assets on the cheap during the oil downturn.

A representative for Warburg declined to comment, while a representative Kayne Anderson didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Ensign added 5,700 net acres in South Texas’s Eagle Ford and Edwards Shale, which produced around 2,200 barrels of oil equivalent per day, through a deal with Newpek LLC last August. The company said at the time that it had also reduced future gathering, processing and transportation rates with its primary midstream provider.

Elsewhere in the Eagle Ford, Penn Virginia Corp. agreed in July to acquire once-bankrupt Lonestar Resources in an all-stock deal valued at $370 million, while Ovintiv Inc. reaped $880 million from an asset sale to Validus Energy in May.

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