Oil and gas sales during the third quarter of 2005 increased 37% to $30,859,000 as compared to $22,516,000 in the third quarter of 2004. For the first nine months of 2005, sales increased 33% to $82,508,000 from $62,084,000 in the first nine months of 2004. On an Mcfe basis, production for the quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2005 increased 2% and 10% over the respective 2004 periods. Stated on an Mcfe basis, unit prices received during the third quarter and first nine months of 2005 were 34% and 20% higher, respectively, than the prices received during the comparable 2004 periods.
Lease operating expenses for the third quarter of 2005 increased 57% to $1.70 per Mcfe from $1.08 per Mcfe in the third quarter of 2004. For the first nine months of 2005, lease operating expenses increased 46% to $1.31 per Mcfe from $0.90 per Mcfe in the comparable period of 2004. The increase in lease operating expenses during the current year was the result of the increase in the number of producing wells, a general increase in field service costs and the major hurricanes during the current year. Depreciation, depletion and amortization on oil and gas properties for the third quarter of 2005 increased 3% to $2.59 per Mcfe from $2.52 per Mcfe in the third quarter of 2004. For the first nine months of 2005, depreciation, depletion and amortization on oil and gas properties increased 2% to $2.53 per Mcfe from $2.48 per Mcfe for the comparable period of 2004.
During the quarter, PetroQuest operated the drilling and completion of three more wells in its Southeast Carthage Field which brings the 2005 total to nine wells drilled and completed in this field. Additionally, PetroQuest operated the drilling and completion of 14 coal bed methane wells in the Arkoma Basin, and participated in 10 additional successful non-operated coal bed methane wells. During the first nine months of 2005, PetroQuest has participated in 43 wells in the Arkoma Basin. Since entering East Texas and the Arkoma Basin, PetroQuest has achieved a 100% success rate in both areas.
As previously announced, the Company is completing its Pebble Beach Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico. The well is expected to begin producing during late December at a gross rate of approximately 15,000 Mcfe per day. PetroQuest owns an approximate 27% NRI in the well. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have delayed the initial production of this prospect.
Drilling continues in the Company's 10 to 15 well 2005 program in Southeast Carthage Field with two rigs currently running, and the 60 well 2005 program in the Arkoma Basin. The Company plans to keep two operated rigs in the Arkoma Basin during the fourth quarter and plans to participate in multiple outside operated wells. The Company is currently drilling its Pelican Point Prospect (25% working interest), its Chicory Prospect (38% working interest) and its Cayenne Prospect (50% working interest) in South Louisiana. The Company is drilling its Poppy Hills Prospect (25% working interest) in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Company expects to resume drilling on its Oakbourne Prospect (20% working interest) during the fourth quarter of 2005.
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