The increase in the budget will primarily fund increased exploratory activities as well as development of recent exploratory successes. Of the $145 million budget, approximately 60% is allocated to low risk exploitation and development activities, 25% to moderate risk exploration, and 15% to higher risk, higher potential exploration. EPL said it expects to fully fund its capital budget from internally generated cash flow.
Richard A. Bachmann, EPL's Founder, Chairman, President and CEO, said, "With the Board's approval of the increase in the capital budget, we plan to add at least four more exploratory wells this year and now expect to drill at least 30 exploratory wells in 2004. So far this year we have five successful exploratory wells out of six drilled, and we currently have three exploratory wells drilling. We have a wealth of opportunities to deploy the additional $20 million in our capital budget, and with continued high commodity prices and cash flow we look forward to adding even more projects to our 2004 program."
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