Over the past several weeks, Atlas Energy has successfully pioneered the use of a two-stage frac design for five of its vertical wells as part of its Marcellus Shale drilling program in southwestern Pennsylvania. Using this frac design, the Company has averaged initial rates of production for 24 hours into a pipeline of 2.1 million cubic feet per day (Mmcf/d), more than double the Company's historical average of approximately 1 Mmcf/d over 90 previous vertical completions in its Marcellus program.
Further, early results indicate that a well having a two-stage frac exhibits a shallower decline rate than a well with a single stage frac. Assuming these results continue, which are not assured, the Company expects to realize sizable increased reserves and production per vertical well drilled. The incremental cost of the two stage design over a single stage design is approximately $125,000.
Atlas Energy is also pleased to report that it has successfully drilled and cased its second horizontal well to the Marcellus Shale having a lateral length of approximately 3,000 feet. The Company plans to complete this well, located in Washington County, Pennsylvania, with an eight-stage frac. Atlas has spud its third and fourth horizontal wells and is on track with its previously announced plan to drill 12 horizontal wells in the next six months. These horizontal wells are being drilled in an industry joint venture where Atlas Energy will typically have a 50% working interest and is the operator.
"These results clearly demonstrate our growing expertise at Atlas Energy", stated Richard D. Weber, President and Chief Operating Officer. "Using these advanced techniques, we look forward to accelerating our growth in reserves and production."
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