LINN Energy's Ellis to Keynote, Be Honored at Energy Capital Conference

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HOUSTON, May 14, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Oil and Gas Investor magazine will recognize recipients of its 10th annual "Excellence Awards" at Hart Energy's Energy Capital Conference, June 17-18, at the Omni Hotel Houston. Executive of the Year honoree Mark E. Ellis, president and CEO of LINN Energy, will present a keynote address at the event.

Candidates for these prestigious awards are nominated by Oil and Gas Investor readers.

"Through triumphs, turmoil, or uncertainty, executives who run successful companies cannot be timid, and these award winners weren't," said Leslie Haines, editor-in-chief of Oil and Gas Investor. "We are pleased to shine a spotlight on them for their 2012 accomplishments."

The honorees are:

Executive of the Year: Mark E. Ellis, president and CEO, LINN Energy, LLC. LINN Energy closed $2.9 billion in acquisitions, including the purchase of two large, historic natural gas fields, the Hugoton in Kansas and the Jonah in Wyoming — each for more than $1 billion. In October, it offered the third-largest initial public offering (IPO) of 2012 in any industry with the debut of LinnCo, LLC for $1.3 billion. This new C-corporation (C-corp) enables LINN to make its largest deal ever, the $4.3-billion purchase of Berry Petroleum Co., which is set to close at the end of June 2013. It is the first-ever acquisition of a C-corp by an LLC.

Best Financing of the Year: LINN Energy for its $1.3-billion IPO of LinnCo, LLC in October 2012. It was the largest oil and gas IPO of the year. Some 30.2 million shares were sold, bringing new institutional investors to the company. This IPO gives LINN Energy a new currency to make much larger acquisitions.

A &D Deal of the Year: Denbury Resources Inc. for its complex, three-way deal, which also included a like-kind exchange of oil and CO2 assets. Denbury negotiated with ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips to close two deals, each totaling more than $1 billion. It sold 100 percent of its Bakken shale assets in North Dakota to ExxonMobil, receiving cash and operating interests in two oilfields that are candidates for CO2 flooding, a Denbury specialty. It also got a one-third stake in Exxon's CO2 supply source in Wyoming. Using these proceeds, Denbury bought from ConocoPhillips some producing properties in eastern Montana and western North Dakota near some of Denbury's existing fields.

Best Discovery: Houston-based Cobalt Energy International, Inc. for its North Platte exploratory well in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico on Garden Banks Block 959. This well is noteworthy for three reasons: It was the company's first operated well in the deepwater Gulf and it was drilled to a total measured depth of 34,500 feet (the fourth deepest well in the Gulf) without incident, in record time. Second, Cobalt found an estimated 350-to-800 million barrels, a company-maker. Third, the well transformed the Inboard Lower Tertiary play from an emerging trend into a major oil industry objective, with by some estimates up to 3 billion barrels of oil in multiple structures.

Best Field Rejuvenation: Plano Petroleum, LLC, a private Texas exploration and production (E &P) company, which used a smart combination of unconventional mapping parameters, experimental well completion designs, and the latest horizontal drilling methods to define a significant oil resource in the Marmaton reservoir in the Anadarko Basin of western Oklahoma. Plano validated more than 100 horizontal well locations on its lease block, in a field that had previously been deemed uneconomic.

Best Performance of the Year: Denver's Bonanza Creek Energy, Inc. The newly public company entered 2012 with headwinds, its common stock having dropped 26 percent from its December 2011 IPO price. But the company ended up having the best-performing domestic oil stock the next year, rising some 122 percent. Bonanza Creek also more than doubled its production in 2012, primarily in the Niobrara play in the Wattenberg Field in Colorado.

The Energy Capital Conference will also feature Stephen Moore, economist and editorial board member, The Wall Street Journal, who will give the opening keynote, "Energy Trends and the U.S. Economy," at 8:40 a.m. on June 18. Moore closely observes the U.S. economy, including budget, tax, and monetary policy. He will offer his perspective on where the economy is headed and how the thriving U.S. oil and gas industry will play a major role.

On June 17, back by popular demand, the "Starting and Building an E &P Company" workshop will be held. This half-day E &P event will allow attendees to hear from experts on how to structure the deal, where to find the capital, and what they will need in a financial partner. Plus, CEOs from select E &P companies will offer first-hand accounts on how they turned their idea into sustainable and successful businesses.

The conference also includes Oil and Gas Investor's inaugural "Twenty Under 40" Rising Stars Recognition, a showcase of 20 younger E &P professionals who demonstrate impressive initiative and talent, inspire and motivate colleagues, are engaged with their communities, and are expected to lead the industry.

For a complete agenda of the conference, visit

About Hart Energy

For nearly 40 years, Hart Energy has been a leader covering energy news and technology for investors and executives. The Houston-based company produces magazines (Oil and Gas Investor, E &P, Midstream Business, and FUEL), online information services (,, and, and industry newsletters, and provides upstream and downstream energy research and downstream consulting services. Hart Energy boasts exceptional strength in unconventional resources, e.g., its Developing Unconventionals (DUG™) conference series, its North American Shale Quarterly data service, and more. Visit for more information.

CONTACT: Susan D. Emfinger 713.260.1069

Source: Hart Energy