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Apache Corp. strikes oil in overlooked Texas field

Staff Writer |
Apache Corp. announced a major oil discovery in Texas, the latest sign the strongest shale companies are growing.

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Apache said it had assembled contiguous parcels of more than 300,000 acres for $1,300 an acre in the field it calls "Alpine High," most of which is in Reeves County, Texas.

The price is a bargain compared to deals done for as much as $30,000 an acre in other parts of Texas. Improved technologies and efficiencies will allow Apache to exploit the area, an overlooked part of the otherwise expansive Permian Basin, the top U.S. oilfield with multiple layers of oil-bearing rock.

To start developing the field, Apache raised its 2016 budget to $2 billion from $1.8 billion, making it one of a dozen or so leading shale producers to raise spending this year as many weaker peers fell into bankruptcy.

Apache estimated that its acreage holds about 75 trillion cubic feet of mostly wet gas and 3 billion barrels of oil in the Barnett and Woodford regions of the field. It also said there is significant oil potential in the shallower Pennsylvanian, Bone Springs and Wolfcamp formations.

The company cautioned that it has yet to determine the precise boost to proved reserves.

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