Sunday, September 26, 2010

Preston County, WV - Marcellus Shale Update

By Andrea:

On August 23, 2010, Enerplus Resources Fund (ERF) closed the acquisition of 58,500 net acres of undeveloped land in the Marcellus shale natural gas play in northwest West Virginia and Maryland. The acreage is predominantly located in Preston County in West Virginia and Garret County in Maryland creating a new, concentrated land position that Enerplus will operate with an average 90% working interest. Enerplus has now invested over $150 million in the Marcellus shale gas play in 2010 acquiring two key operated areas comprised of approximately 70,000 net acres in addition to the 127,000 net acres of non-operated land that has been acquired since 2009.

These new lands in West Virginia and Maryland are in emerging areas with limited existing development however we believe that the geologic characteristics are similar to Fayette and Somerset counties of Pennsylvania. Early results from offset operators including those of our joint venture interests have been encouraging. While no proved or probable reserves have been acquired, we estimate original gas in place on this acreage of approximately 50 to 60 Bcf per 640 acres.

The concentrated nature of this operated position, together with the long tenure of the leases provides Enerplus the opportunity to control the pace of development and spending. A majority of the leases have two to three years remaining on the original five-year term with an additional five-year extension option at nominal cost. Our initial plans are to shoot seismic and begin the permitting process this fall and we expect to begin drilling in 2011.

Enerplus has captured a meaningful position in one of the best shale gas plays in North America that we believe will provide us with significant production growth over the next four years. To date, we are encouraged by the results of our development plans and current production is approximately 15 MMcf/day. We intend to continue to manage the commodity and asset mix of our portfolio to ensure we have flexibility in our capital spending. We are evaluating the possibility of reducing our non-operated acreage position given the addition of our new operated acreage and in order to maintain a desired level of exposure.

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