"...Hidden here was the final piece of the puzzle that would change South Texas forever."

Mark Collette, investigative reporter for the Corpus Christi Caller Times, tells the story in a recent special report of the geological and leasing feat behind Petrohawk Energy Corp.'s discovery of the Eagle Ford shale play in South Texas. The 4-year-old play is currently believed to be the largest -- in terms of barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) that it holds, including oil, gas liquids and dry gas -- in the Lower 48 today, rivaling that of the giant Bakken oil system in North Dakota and Montana.

Collette reports in a Dec. 29, 2012, article, "The Wildcatter: Corpus Christi's Gregg Robertson, key member of Eagle Ford discovery, named 2012 Newsmaker of the Year," of how Robertson, a long-time Corpus Christi-based geologist, was called upon by Petrohawk's president and chief operating officer, Dick Stoneburner, in 2008 to help evaluate whether internal suggestions of the possibility of an Eagle Ford play could pan out.

Robertson's work included a trip to Texas' library of more than 500,000 core and other rock material at the Bureau of Economic Geology's headquarters in Austin that is part of a more than 2-million-box collection of subsurface materials there and in Houston and Midland. Collette writes of Robertson's Austin trip to analyze some Eagle Ford rock from an old South Texas well attempt, "The brown boxes sat like building blocks stacked 15 feet high in endless rows of towering metal shelves at a University of Texas research campus...Hidden here was the final piece of the puzzle that would change South Texas forever...Only Gregg Robertson knew where to look: Row 57, Bay H, Shelf 4.

"There, the manila pouches of ash-gray pebbles sat in their box. They probably went unnoticed since 1952, five years before Robertson was born. That's when a Phillips Petroleum drillbit brought the cuttings up from a layer of sediment deposited on the sea floor more than 66 million years ago."

For the full, approximately 3,800-word tale, see Collette's article: "The Wildcatter: Corpus Christi's Gregg Robertson." For a full report on the founding and growth of Petrohawk, which was sold in 2011 to BHP Billiton Ltd. for $15 billion for its leadership positions in the Haynesville and Eagle Ford shale plays plus horizontal Permian Basin potential, see the November 2011, Oil and Gas Investor, report, "Floyd-Opoly."

--Nissa Darbonne, Editor-at-Large, Oil and Gas Investor, OilandGasInvestor.com, Oil and Gas Investor This Week, A&D Watch, A-Dcenter.com, UGcenter.com. Contact Nissa at ndarbonne@hartenergy.com.