Consolidation by the Big Guys in the nation’s largest oil and gas basins may well offer golden opportunities for the Smaller Guys to snap up non-core cast offs when the deal dust finally settles. For other smaller operators, finding remarkable success in plays outside of the major headliners is no big mystery—just largely under covered by the media.

Reese Energy Consulting today is following the latest news from the Barnett and San Juan where producers well understand you don’t have to be a Permian Midland and Delaware big fella to find big oil. We’ll start with Midland, Texas-based Ares Energy and its CEO Bob Dimit whose exploration for crude oil lies hands-down in the Barnett. Back in January, Ares launched a 4-5 well drilling program targeting the Mississippian interval. The program has since expanded to 7 wells with completions due to begin in July. These are big, deep wells, Dimit says, estimating initial production of 1+ MBPD and ultimately 1.2 MMBbls—along with extremely rich gas from what he hails the Permian’s next big play.

Meanwhile in N.M., far north from the state’s southern Delaware fanfare, the gassy San Juan Basin continues to reveal its crude oil secrets for producers developing the Marcos shale and Gallup oil window. The two leading operators in this small subset of the basin are N.M.-based DJR Operating and Denver-based Enduring Resources, which have found San Juan gold at breakeven costs less than $40/bbl. DJR in 2023 produced an average 13 MBPD while Enduring recorded an average 11.9 MBPD.