Ram Energy Charges Forward

Ram Energy Resources is charging forward into prospective oil and natural gas fields.
The Tulsa-based independent exploration and production company operates primarily in the in the Mid-Continent, the Permian Basin, the Barnett Shale and onshore in the Gulf Coast region.
Larry Lee, Ram president and CEO, sees plenty of potential from the untapped acreage in these plays.
“We have operated and focused in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Louisiana throughout our history. It is an area we know and are familiar with,” Lee said.
Ram Energy has grown through acquisitions. Since its founding 22 years ago, Ram has completed more than two dozen acquisitions of producing oil and natural gas properties and related assets for an aggregate purchase price in excess of $735 million.
Ram’s historical pattern is to reinvest in new oil and gas wells, using its ample cash flow.
Ram Energy’s success is evident this year. First quarter production totaled 655,000 barrels of oil equivalent, a 7 percent increase over 612,000 BOE a year ago. First quarter average daily production grew 3 percent to 7,278 BOE, compared to 7,098 BOE in the fourth quarter of ‘08. The company expects to hit its target production of 2.5 million BOE this year.
The shale plays of this decade have been the biggest surprise for Ram.
“Ten years ago, no one thought we could do that. But that is how the evolution of the industry has developed,” Lee said.
Ram is producing gas from this shale, in the Barnett, Woodford Shale and the Fayetteville Shale.
“It has become a game changer,” Lee said.
It is expensive. First, companies drill down several thousand feet and bank the bit horizontally through the shale. Then they send a 2 million- to 4 million-gallon mixture of water, sand and chemicals down to break open the rock and release the gas.
To afford the cash it takes to reach these unconventional resources, crude oil needs to be $50 a barrel or higher to make oil reasonable to drill in the continental U.S. natural gas prices need to be $6 or higher to make the shale plays profitable. Natural gas now is hovering around half that amount.
Ram Energy reported total 2008 production exceeded previous guidance of 2.55 million barrels of oil equivalent. In addition, the company announced preliminary capital expenditure plans and assumptions for this year.
Remaining consistent with its historical strategy, Ram Energy established a preliminary non-acquisition capital budget for 2009 of $30 to $35 million.
Many independent companies make significant re-investments in their operations. Ram Energy re-invests 100 percent of its cash flow back into drilling these producing properties in basins with long histories of oil and natural gas operations, Lee said.
Through last year, Ram has drilled or participated in the drilling of more than 700 oil and natural gas wells, with a 93-percent success rate. Ram has proved reserves near 90 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 40 million barrels of oil equivalent.
Ram has stayed on target by focusing on opportunities in the current economic environment. Ram Energy’s inventory of low-risk opportunities is capable of rapid returns, and its stable cash flow base supports substantial inventory of projects in “mature fields.”
Ram Energy maintains a high degree of operating control of its production properties and has created value through acquisitions and through the drillbit, Lee said.
Today’s regulatory environment is cause for concern as stricter rules threaten these natural gas plays.
“It worries everyone in the industry. Fracturing wells in this country has been done for decades. There is no evidence it hurts ground water, as deep as these wells are fractured,” Lee said.
ONEOK Announces Kneale’s Retirement, Other Changes
James C. Kneale, 58, president and chief operating officer of ONEOK and ONEOK Partners, L.P. will retire Jan. 1, after 29 years with the company.
Terry K. Spencer, 50, is promoted to chief operating officer of ONEOK Partners, and Robert F. Martinovich, 51, is promoted to chief operating officer of ONEOK. Both will report to Kneale, who will remain president of both entities until his retirement, at which time they will report to John W. Gibson, chief executive officer of ONEOK and chairman and chief executive officer of ONEOK Partners, who, in addition to his current responsibilities, will also become president of both entities at that time.
Spencer will be responsible for ONEOK Partners’ four operating segments — natural gas gathering and processing, natural gas pipelines, natural gas liquids gathering and fractionation, and natural gas liquids pipelines. Martinovich will be responsible for ONEOK’s distribution and energy services operating segments, as well as the company’s environmental, safety and health, and technical services organizations.
The company also announced that Caron A. Lawhorn, 48, becomes senior vice president-corporate planning and development, a new position, responsible for business development, long-range planning and capital investment, reporting to Gibson.
Lawhorn will be succeeded as senior vice president and chief accounting officer of ONEOK and ONEOK Partners by Derek S. Reiners, 38, when he joins the company on Aug. 10. A certified public accountant, Reiners is with Grant Thornton LLP in Dallas, where he has been a partner since 2004 and leads the accounting firm’s north Texas energy industry practice.
Other changes include:
? Robert S. Mareburger, 47, is promoted to president, natural gas of ONEOK Partners, responsible for the partnership’s two natural gas segments: Gathering and processing and natural gas pipelines. Mareburger was most recently vice president and chief information officer.
? Sheridan C. Swords, 40, is promoted to president, natural gas liquids of ONEOK Partners, responsible for the partnership’s two natural gas liquids segments: Gathering and fractionation and natural gas liquids pipelines. Swords was most recently president of the natural gas liquids gathering and fractionation segment.
? Pierce H. Norton II, 49, becomes president of ONEOK Distribution Cos., responsible for the company’s three natural gas utilities: Oklahoma Natural Gas, Kansas Gas Service and Texas Gas Service.
? David R. Scharf, 52, is promoted to president of ONEOK Partners’ natural gas gathering and processing segment.
? Michael L. Turner, 35, is promoted to vice president of ONEOK Partners’ natural gas liquids gathering and fractionation.
? Kevin L. Burdick, 44, is promoted to vice president and chief information officer.
McAfee & Taft Attorney Gets Climate Change Policy Role
Mary Ellen Ternes, a shareholder with the law firm of McAfee & Taft and leader of the firm’s environmental practice, has been appointed co-chair of the Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Ecosystems Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy and Resources.
She was appointed by incoming Section Chair John C. Cruden, deputy assistant attorney general in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
A senior member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Ternes has also recently been appointed co-chair of the Climate Change Section for the AICHE’s Environmental Division, serving with Dr. Gregory R. Carmichael with the University of Iowa, known for his landmark work regarding the role of black carbon in climate change.

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