Anschutz Goes For Black Gold

Anschutz Exploration Corp., an oil and gas concern that is part of billionaire Philip Anschutz’s far-ranging business empire, is up for sale and expected to fetch up to $1 billion.

“People familiar with” the details told the Wall Street Journal that Anschutz Exploration may be the first in a wave of consolidation of smaller oil and gas companies.

The company has producing wells and is exploring for oil and gas in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming, according to its website. It employs about 30 people and is reported to have some 80 wells since 2006.

In addition, Anschutz and fellow billionaire Trevor Rees-Jones have put up for sale the rights to natural gas fields in the Marcellus Shale. The 500,000-acre field covers parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia and Kentucky.

It’s believed the men are hiving off the company, formed by Anschutz in 1965, and the Marcellus rights before capital gains tax rates rise from 15 percent to 20 percent next year.