- Associated Press - Monday, June 1, 2015

RUSTON, La. (AP) - A Texas energy company has purchased or leased about 71,000 acres in and around Lincoln Parish, where it is operating as many as eight rigs with plans for perhaps 10 more by the end of the year.

The News-Star reports (http://bit.ly/1I1AzpQ) Memorial Resource Development Corp. of Houston is drilling for natural gas and natural gas liquids.

“There’s a lot of money somewhere,” said Lincoln Parish Clerk of Court Linda Cook, whose office files paperwork related to land leases. “It doesn’t seem to be slowing down.”

Cook said her office first saw an uptick in paperwork for land leases more than two years ago. It has increased steadily since.

The company has focused on Lincoln Parish, where it may spend as much as $500 million in capital expenditures this year.

Such spending is counter to what is happening elsewhere in U.S. oil and gas this year, where companies have trimmed their exploration and production efforts because of lingering low prices.

Pat Courreges, with the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, said interest has increased in and around Lincoln Parish, home of Louisiana Tech University, over the past two or three years. He said the area is marked by densely packed sand and is rich not only in natural gas but also oil and accompanying natural gas liquids, such as propane and butane, that are treasured by petrochemical companies.

Courreges said MRD’s drilling was initially done by WildHorse Resources, and that returns were good. Since 2012, he said, 60 sites were drilled and another 60 or so permitted.

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Information from: The News-Star, http://www.thenewsstar.com

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