Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Webb County, TX: Eagle Ford Shale Update

By Andrea:

SM Energy Company (SM) recently released an operational update on the Eagle Ford Shale located in Webb and LaSalle County,TX:

SM Energy Company (SM) plans to begin 2011 operating two (2) drilling rigs on its high working interest 165,000 net acre position in Webb and La Salle counties in South Texas. Over the course of the year, the Company plans to ramp its operated rig count to four (4) drilling rigs, the vast majority of which will target portions of the acreage containing rich gas and condensate. Most of the wells planned for the year will be in the Briscoe and Galvan Ranch program areas where SM Energy has been active during 2010. A higher level of activity is also planned for La Salle County, Texas in order to de-risk and delineate that portion of the Company's acreage. In addition, a number of projects such as retained energy fracture stimulations and reduced spacing pilots are planned for next year across the play. Projects in the Eagle Ford shale program make up the largest portion of the Company's facilities budget of $65 million.

In the partner-operated portion of SM Energy's 84,500 net acre position prospective for the Eagle Ford shale, seven (7) rigs are currently being operated by the Company's partner, Anadarko Petroleum Company (APC). For 2011, SM Energy anticipates that Anadarko will operate an average of ten (10) rigs for the year.

SM Energy has allocated approximately $500 million for drilling investment in its total Eagle Ford shale position for 2011. Based on the activity levels contemplated above, capital expenditures net to the Company would be in excess of this amount next year. The Company is initiating a marketing process to sell down or joint venture a portion of its total position in the play, which will lead to a smaller amount of net investment in 2011. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has been engaged to market the Eagle Ford shale package on behalf of the Company. Although details of the composition of the sale package are still being determined, SM Energy currently estimates that it will sell roughly 20% to 30% of its total acreage position and that as a result the net spending for 2011 will be approximately $500 million after adjusting for capital expenditures associated with divested properties and possible drilling carries.

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