As one of the largest owners of oil and natural gas interests in the U.S., Houston-based Black Stone Minerals, L.P. announced it had received notice that Aethon Energy was exercising the “time-out” provisions under its joint exploration agreements with the Company in Angelina and San Augustine counties in East Texas .
When natural-gas prices fall below specified thresholds, those provisions allow Aethon to temporarily suspend its drilling obligations for up to 9 consecutive months and a maximum of 18 total months in any 48-month period. Aethon has not invoked the time-out provisions under the Agreements before now and has not indicated how long it expects to suspend its obligations under the respective Agreements.
Black Stone does not expect the invocation of the time-out to affect the approximately 30 Aethon wells in various stages of development.The company said it expects those wells to be turned in line and begin producing on schedule. Accordingly, the company does not expect the suspension to have a meaningful financial impact in the next twelve months and plans to issue 2024 guidance in late February 2024, consistent with past practice.
Black Stone and Aethon are in active discussions to determine the plan for the time-out. Black Stone will continue to assess the effect of the notice but cannot currently estimate the longer-term effects of a protracted suspension without knowing how long drilling will be suspended.
Thomas L. Carter, Jr., the Company’s CEO, President, and Chairman, noted, “Aethon has been a great partner in our Shelby Trough development program. Low gas prices are obviously challenging for operators and royalty owners in the area, but we look forward to working with Aethon to minimize downtime and get the best possible results for the Company’s unitholders.”
Black Stone Minerals is one of the largest owners of oil and natural gas mineral interests in the United States. The Company owns mineral interests and royalty interests in 41 states in the continental United States.