Union Drilling Orders New Drilling Rigs

Union Drilling has ordered two new rigs for its Appalachian fleet. A series of significant discoveries resulting from horizontal drilling in the Trenton Black River ("TBR") formation in New York and northern Pennsylvania has generated increased demand for rigs with greater capability. The company already has several rigs capable of drilling distances in excess of two miles that are actively working in this area. In addition to servicing the burgeoning demand from its existing fleet, Union has ordered a new National Oilwell Model 900 portable drilling rig with 441,000 pounds of hoisting capacity that will provide greater depth capability as well as state-of-the-art engineering and features. It also has ordered a GEFCO 185,000 pound capacity rig for operations in the southern Appalachian Basin. The company holds options to purchase up to four more rigs for delivery later this year.

Commenting on the rig orders, the company's president, Chris Strong, stated, "Our customers and their investors are encouraged by the recent discoveries in the Trenton Black River formation and have indicated there will be substantial continued drilling activity to support the development of this significant play. The recent successes in the TBR formation and the favorable natural gas price environment have also resulted in increased drilling activity across the entire Appalachian Basin. With its extensive fleet and focus on high quality service, Union is well positioned to meet the requirements of its customers' diverse drilling needs. The last period of extensive rig building in this country was nearly twenty-five years ago and the inventory of idle rigs from that era that can be refurbished and deployed productively is dwindling. In certain applications, older rigs are exhibiting technological obsolescence and it is these markets that we will be serving with new rigs."

Union Drilling, which has 45 drilling rigs and approximately 650 employees, provides contract drilling services for exploration and production companies in the Appalachian Basin and the Rocky Mountains. It is the largest privately held company in its industry.