EPL will continue to pursue a risk-balanced strategy in its capital program: approximately 60% of the capital budget will be allocated to development efforts, including funds for development of 2003 exploratory successes, and low-risk exploitation activities; approximately 25% will be allocated to moderate risk, moderate potential exploration activities; and up to 15% will be allocated to higher risk, higher potential exploration opportunities. The Company continues to evaluate potential acquisitions in its Gulf of Mexico focus area, but it does not establish a budget for such acquisitions.
Richard A. Bachmann, EPL's Founder, Chairman, President, and CEO remarked, "The Board's approval of our 2004 capital budget, which is a sizable increase over last year's, demonstrates the extent of the high value growth opportunities that we have in our project portfolio. This extensive inventory is one of the distinguishing characteristics of our company. We are already finalizing plans for a number of exciting opportunities we have queued up for 2004 and plan to drill more than the record 24 exploratory wells in our 2003 program."
Bachmann remarked further, "As we did for 2003, we will continue to reevaluate our targeted spending level throughout 2004, and with continued high commodity prices, we may well increase our capital budget beyond the $125 million initial target."
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