Magnum Hunter Resources, a Texas-based independent exploration and production company, has signed a new joint operating and exploration agreement with privately-held Hunt Oil Company based in Dallas, Texas. The area of mutual interest (AMI) covers existing mineral lease acreage positions currently owned by both companies in Gonzales and Lavaca counties, Texas.

Terms of the new joint agreement include Magnum Hunter and Hunt Oil working together within the AMI on an equal and joint basis throughout these two south Texas counties for a period up through December 2014. Both companies have cross-assigned existing ownership interests in their respective lease acreage positions for both Lavaca and Gonzales counties.

Additionally, Magnum Hunter and Hunt Oil will share all future leasing, exploration, drilling, completion and development costs and other expenses in the AMI on a ‘fifty-fifty’ basis. Each company has also agreed to allow the other company to be the designated operator for all wells on lease acres specifically contributed by each company to the AMI under the agreement.

It is the intent of both companies that all the new wells to be drilled under the joint agreement within the AMI will be horizontal Eagle Ford Shale wells. The agreement covers 28,187 (gross acres) and 26,822 (net acres) with 50% ownership interest owned by each company being 14,094 (gross acres) and 13,411 (net acres).

The joint agreement potentially allows for two wells to be drilled on the joint acreage position within the AMI during 2010. One of the first two exploratory wells to be drilled will be the Magnum Hunter operated ‘Gonzo Hunter #1-H’ well located in Gonzales county.

The well is currently anticipated to be spudded around the first of June 2010. The joint agreement allows for the option of a second well to be drilled on the Hunt Oil acreage in the AMI during this year with Hunt Oil as operator. It is presently anticipated that Magnum Hunter and Hunt Oil will own a 50.0% working interest in each of the contemplated wells.

Magnum Hunter has allocated approximately $30.7m out of its fiscal year 2010 total capital expenditure budget of $55m (55.7% of the total capex budget) for the Eagle Ford Shale oil-window of south Texas.