Aspen Exploration Corporation announced an increase in production and reserves from the Poplar Field in Montana. In January 2007, Aspen purchased a 12.5% working interest in the existing Poplar Field in Roosevelt County, Montana. After 110% payout Aspen's interest will revert to 10%. Nautilus Poplar LLC, with headquarters in Denver, is Operator of the field and under the direction of Nautilus president and petroleum engineer Roland Blauer. Nautilus has advised Aspen that highlights of developments at the field have included the following:
1) Present value of proved developed reserves has increased from the January 2007 purchase price of $10.8 million ($1,387,500 cost to Aspen), to $31.1 million ($3.89 million net to Aspen), a 290% increase. The increase occurred almost equally from an increased number of producing wells and higher oil prices.
2) Gross proved developed reserves have increased from 2.2 million barrels acquired to 3.6 million barrels, a 1.6 fold increase (a change to Aspen's 12.5% interest from 275,000 barrels to 450,000 barrels). The additional reserves came from operations and management improvements of the existing and producing reservoir and wells with no new drilling or new interval completions and are also a function of increasing prices.
3) A projected 0.9 million barrels of proved but undeveloped reserves have been identified for development during 2008. Project selection will be modified as additional operational, geological and geophysical information is developed and coordinated. Aspen's share of any reserves and its share of drilling and completion costs will be 12.5%.
4) The daily average production has increased from approximately 200 barrels oil per day (BOPD) to more than 300 BOPD (25 BOPD and 37.5 BOPD net to Aspen's interest).
5) The total number (gross, not net) of economic producing wells has increased from 24 to 37.
6) The "break even" cost for producing Poplar oil is $24.75 per barrel and, with oil prices now hovering near $100 per barrel, the economics of the field are very attractive.
7) Development work is ongoing at Poplar Field and Nautilus management is aiming to increase the daily production to about 400 BOPD (gross production) in 2008, although there is no assurance this goal will be accomplished.
8) A third party has approached Nautilus about the possibility of working out a farmout from Nautilus so prospective horizons below those now producing can be tested for possible oil and/or gas production. Aspen supports this possible farmout, although there can be no assurance that Nautilus will be able to achieve any such farmout.
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