Riviera Resources dice adios to the Arkoma


On 11 December 2018, Riviera Resources, Inc. (“Riviera”) announced that it signed a definitive agreement to sell its interests in properties located in the Arkoma Basin in Oklahoma to an undisclosed buyer for a contract price of $68 million, subject to closing adjustments. For those who do not remember the sad saga of Linn Energy, Riviera = Linn Energy - the Linn Energy assets that were contributed to Roan Resources. Since there haven’t been many large trades in the Arkoma recently, Berlin thought it would be appropriate to analyze the metrics and valuations reported in the press release.

Snapshot of Berlin’s assumption of the operated wells under contract

Snapshot of Berlin’s assumption of the operated wells under contract


Riviera agreed to sell approximately 24 MMcf/day of net production. It was reported that this equated to proved developed reserves (PV-10) valued at $61 million. Berlin believes this might be slightly misstated as $61 million seems like a lot to pay for 24 MMcf/d, but if the bank who is loaning other people’s money to you says it okay to misconstrue the allocated value then it must be okay...maybe. It is Berlin’s estimate that these assets are generating ~$1.23 million / month (24,000 mcf / day * $2.86/mcf * .80 * .75 * 30 days).*


If the production valuation is accurate, then Ms. Undisclosed Buyer will purchase 37,000 net acres for $7 million, a whopping sum of $189.19 / net acre. Assuming that it is all held by production (HBP), that might turn out to be quite the trade. Using data hastily queried from Oseberg’s Atla platform, the average one year pooling bonus delivering an .8125 NRI in Coal, Hughes, and Pittsburg counties in the past twelve months lies between $550 and $650 per net acre. While some of the Riviera acreage might be burdened below an .8125 NRI, it is most likely inclusive of more formations than the pooled acreage and it is HBP. Buying at ⅓ the price of your offset competition is usually a good thing and will enhance the opportunities to earn a multiple of your purchase price upon exit.


It is Berlin’s estimate that Riviera is selling 192 operated wells (174 horizontal (mostly woodfords), 18 vertical). The wells are predominantly located in Coal (94), Hughes (63), and Pittsburg counties (20). Since activity has cooled in the Arkoma and Riviera is not running a drilling rig in the prospect, Berlin reckons that Ms. Undisclosed Buyer will not immediately contract a rig to drill the already HBP’d acreage.

Potential Purchaser

At a $68 million purchase price, the universe for potential buyers is quite large. If there were more transactions in the Arkoma, it would make sense for one of the many private equity backed concerns to drag this asset along into a larger trade. However, since no large company has started to consolidate the PE shops and those PE shops seem to be settling down into their marathon paces, the PE shops should be excluded as a potential buyer. More than likely, the buyer is either a family company who already operates wells in the area such as Sanguine Gas Exploration, or one of the institutionally backed operating companies who seem to have a hurdle rate that barely clears the LIBOR; Scout Energy, Merit Energy, Foundation Energy fit this mold.

It will be worth the squeeze if Arkoma mania ever strikes again…and it will.

It will be worth the squeeze if Arkoma mania ever strikes again…and it will.

The Juice

If gas ever becomes the new oil (again) and companies (because Wall Street tells them to) start increasing their desire for gas reserves then this could prove to be a lucrative purchase for the buyer. She’s not paying a premium for the production and the acreage is coming over for the price of a couple sections of SCOOP acreage. It would be a home run if a big lease play sweeps through the basin à la 2007/2008 and she can exit for $2000 plus / acre .

If you have any additional comments or you would like to point out an error in Berlin’s math or reasoning, please drop a line below.

More to follow,


*0.80 is the estimate of the NRI of the leases, and 0.75 is the estimate of the ratio of operating expenses to revenue. Berlin is not literate to the point where she can make footnotes in a blog post.