Family-owned oil company Petro-Hunt LLC is drilling deeper into the Delaware Basin but keeping its options open for new growth.

Dallas-based Petro-Hunt was founded in the 1990s by William Herbert Hunt—the son of East Texas wildcatter H.L. Hunt, who during his time amassed one of the world’s greatest fortunes from oil and gas extraction.

Petro-Hunt, still a closely held family firm, is one of the largest private producers in the nation, according to data from Enverus Intelligence Research. With average daily oil production of approximately 41,000 bbl/d, Petro-Hunt ranks as the 16th largest private oil producer in the U.S., per Enverus data.

But the list of private producers is set to shrink with the pending acquisitions of Endeavor Energy Resources (~220,400 bbl/d) CrownQuest Operating (~93,600 bbl/d) in the Permian Basin, and the acquisition of Aera Energy (~78,000 bbl/d) in California.

Petro-Hunt COO Marshall T. Hunt, grandson of W. Herbert Hunt and great-grandson of H.L. Hunt, told Hart Energy that the company still has a long runway in the Permian, the Williston Basin and beyond.

“The Permian Basin has really taken a lot of our focus currently,” Hunt said.

Petro-Hunt has been active in the Permian’s Delaware Basin since entering the play through an acquisition from Admiral Permian in 2022.

The Admiral Permian deal included existing production and around 21,000 net acres in Reeves and Culberson counties, Texas.

Petro-Hunt complemented the Admiral Permian deal by acquiring around 4,000 net acres in Loving County, Texas, through a series of transactions.

Last year, Petro-Hunt acquired a contiguous block of 7,500 net acres in Ward County, Texas.

Today, the company’s portfolio spans over 35,000 net acres in the Delaware Basin, where Petro-Hunt is operating three rigs, Hunt said.

Petro-Hunt Delaware Basin
Petro-Hunt’s growing footprint of assets and acreage in the Texas Delaware Basin, according to available Rextag data. (Source: Rextag)


Decoding the Delaware: How E&Ps Are Unlocking the Future

Beyond the Permian

Petro-Hunt is also running one rig in the Williston Basin, where the company has had a long history and still owns a sizable portfolio.

Petro-Hunt has been a pioneer in the Bakken and Three Forks formations: The company’s predecessor entities began picking up leases in North Dakota in the 1940s.

Marshall Hunt
Petro-Hunt COO Marshall T. Hunt, grandson of W. Herbert Hunt and great-grandson of H.L. Hunt. (Source: Petro-Hunt)

In 2006, the company completed the USA No. 2D-3-1H, the basin’s first horizontal well in the Three Forks. The well has produced more than 2 MMbbl since first coming online.

By 2011, Petro-Hunt was running up to 16 rigs in the Williston Basin, where the company was one of the top liquids producers.

The company grabbed headlines in 2012 when it sold a portion of its Williston position—81,000 net producing acres—to Halcón Resources Corp. for $1.45 billion.

Outside of the Permian and Williston, Petro-Hunt still has holdings in Louisiana, East Texas and the Powder River Basin, Hunt said.

Petro-Hunt is keeping its options open when it comes to future M&A.

The wildcatting E&P isn’t opposed to jumping in somewhere new. Exploration runs in the family, after all.

The company also sees value in bolting on additional acquisitions in its existing operating areas.

“We’re still opportunistic looking at all areas across the Lower 48,” Hunt said, “such as the Haynesville, Permian, the Rockies region all the way up to the Williston.”

But Petro-Hunt is being opportunistic outside of oil and gas production, too: The family has verticals focused on acquiring minerals and royalties in basins around the country.

The Hunt family is also a part owner in the Placid Refining Co. and a refinery in Port Allen, Louisiana.

Petro-Hunt is the owner and operator of the Little Knife Gas Plant west of Killdeer, North Dakota, which processes natural gas volumes from the Little Knife Field.

The family actively invests in real estate development, operates a private equity alternative investment division and enjoys ranching.

“I think we see a lot of room for growth in the future,” Hunt said.

W. Herbert Hunt died at age 95 on April 9, 2024. He and his family were inducted into Hart Energy’s Hall of Fame last December.


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