Forest Oil has announced its 2010 capital budget and related operational guidance. As a result of significantly increased liquidity in 2010 from Forest's non-core 2009 divestiture program and the streamlining of its asset base primarily to three core areas with high growth potential, Forest intends to increase its drilling activity through the deployment of 20 operated rigs by the end of the first quarter of 2010. Highlights from the Company's 2010 guidance are as follows:
H. Craig Clark, President and CEO stated, "With the divestitures of the Permian Basin and other non-core properties, Forest is poised to grow production from its three core properties, the Greater Buffalo Wallow Area, the East Texas / North Louisiana Area, and the Deep Basin in Canada. These assets will consume approximately 75% of Forest’s capital budget in 2010 and will generate the majority of the double-digit organic production growth for the Company. The program will focus not only on shales, but will also include horizontal drilling in tight gas sands and carbonates. We will also continue to focus on cost control and believe that there will be further improvement in 2010. With the recent de-levering of the balance sheet, Forest will return to its strategy of growth through the drill bit at a measured pace while staying within a reasonable bandwidth of cash flow and earning great returns on invested capital."
Forest intends to focus its 2010 capital budget on growth from its unconventional resource bases, including the Greater Buffalo Wallow Area, the Haynesville Shale and the Cotton Valley Sands in East Texas / North Louisiana, and the Deep Basin in Canada. The focus of the drilling program will primarily involve horizontal drilling in these core areas that have significant growth opportunities with large project inventories. Forest entered 2010 operating 12 drilling rigs and intends to expand the fleet to 20 rigs by the end of the first quarter. This activity level should remain relatively consistent for the remainder of 2010.
2010 OPERATIONAL PROJECTS
Greater Buffalo Wallow Area -- Granite Wash (Texas Panhandle)
Forest holds approximately 135,000 gross and 94,000 net acres in the play, which it intends to develop horizontally in 2010. Forest currently has three operated horizontal rigs running in the play and intends to increase that count to four in the first quarter of 2010. Additionally, Forest expects to have one to two non-operated horizontal rigs active in the play. With this rig count, Forest expects to drill 20 - 25 operated wells and participate in 9 non-operated wells during the year.
Results from the two operated horizontal wells Forest has drilled to date in the play averaged an initial 24-hour production rate of 24 MMcfe/d.
Haynesville / Bossier Shale and Cotton Valley Sands (East Texas / North Louisiana)
Forest holds approximately 198,000 gross and 154,000 net acres prospective for the Haynesville / Bossier Shale and Cotton Valley Sands in East Texas / North Louisiana.
Haynesville Shale -- North Louisiana
Forest currently has one operated horizontal rig running in North Louisiana and intends to increase that count to three in the first quarter of 2010. With this rig count, Forest expects to drill 12 - 16 operated wells during the year.
Results from the four operated horizontal wells Forest has drilled to date in the play averaged an initial 24-hour production rate of 18 MMcfe/d.
Haynesville / Bossier Shale and Cotton Valley Sands -- East Texas
Forest intends to add a horizontal rig in the first quarter of 2010 to drill Cotton Valley Sand opportunities and test the Haynesville / Bossier Shale in East Texas. Forest expects to drill 6 - 8 operated wells during the year.
Deep Basin (Alberta, Canada)
Forest holds approximately 138,000 gross and 88,000 net acres in the play, which it intends to develop both vertically and horizontally. Forest currently has five operated rigs running in the play and intends to increase that count to seven in the first quarter of 2010. With this rig count, Forest expects to drill 35 - 40 operated wells during the year. Drilling economics have been enhanced due to royalty holidays enacted by the Province of Alberta.
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