St. Mary announces $725 million budget for 2010

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Jan. 6
-- St. Mary Land & Exploration Co. announced a 2010 total budget of $725 million, of which exploration and drilling is slated to receive $561 million.

The independent announced a $350 million budget for 2009 early last year, down more than 50% from the $758 million budget St. Mary initially forecast for 2008.

Tony Best, St. Mary chief executive officer and president, said the company will deploy “a meaningful amount of investment in our emerging resource plays, particularly in the Eagle Ford and Haynesville shales.”

The 2010 exploration and drilling budget allocates $216 million for Eagle Ford play, $89 million for the Haynesville play, and $89 million for the Permian basin.

St. Mary will operate 75% of the exploration and development capital it deploys during the year. The company plans to operate two drilling rigs continuously on its Eagle Ford interests in the South Texas counties of Webb, Dimmitt, and La Salle.

Best said St. Mary has increased efficiencies in the Eagle Ford drilling program, allowing it to increase activity without increasing rig count. St. Mary’s first operated well in Eagle Ford was drilled in 45 days while a recent well was drilled in fewer than 14 days.

The Eagle Ford play will account for 34 gross operated wells during 2010, and St. Mary plans to have 100% working interest on most of those wells.

About $24 million of the facilities budget will be deployed in the Eagle Ford play to expand infrastructure there. The facilities budget is separate from the exploration and drilling budget.

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