Exploration

Wildcatter Floyd Wilson launches Falconer Oil and Gas Corp.

By Rachel Adams-Heard HOUSTON (Bloomberg) — Legendary wildcatter Floyd Wilson is back with his “ninth or tenth” oil company, after his departure from Halcon Resources Corp.

Falconer Oil and Gas Corp., a Houston-based venture with a vague mandate from Wilson to “make money,” just two months after he stepped down as CEO of Halcon following a battle with hedge fund Fir Tree Capital Management LP. Fir Tree called Halcon’s spending “excessive,” citing Wilson’s insistence on flying private even after the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2016.

Wilson discussed exploratory drilling at a time when weary investors are demanding shale producers stop outspending cash flow — an irony that wasn’t lost on him.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never run a business that operated within cash flow,” he said. “But they all could have operated within cash flow some day.”

That’s just part of wildcatting, he said.

“Any business that can’t operate within cash flow is a hobby, or it’s an early-stage shale business, or it’s a business that needs to be sold or consolidated,” he said.

Still, not every investor is willing to wait, said Wilson, who characterized his departure as being a result of “a couple of nitwits in New York.” He later said that was probably harsh, adding that they were “smart” people but that he couldn’t run a business based on one shareholder’s demands. A representative for Fir Tree declined to comment.

Wilson aims to grow Falconer into a business to be valued in the “hundreds of millions,” hopefully reaching the $1 billion mark over time. He’s looking for oily assets in the Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico and the Eagle Ford shale in South Texas. Despite past moves, Wilson said he doesn’t have plans to go public via a reverse merger.

Wilson was previously CEO of Petrohawk Energy Corp., which was sold to BHP Billiton for $12 billion in 2011. In keeping with the bird theme, he named his next company Halcon — Spanish for “hawk.”

When asked Tuesday whether he had any regrets about leaving the hawk name behind with Falconer, Wilson said: “Well, a falcon is a hawk.”

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