Ultra boosts Pennsylvania Marcellus stake

By OGJ editors
-- Ultra Petroleum Corp., Houston, plans to buy 80,000 net acres prospective for Devonian Marcellus shale gas in central and northern Pennsylvania from an undisclosed private company.

The $400 million deal, expected to close in late February and retroactive to Oct. 1, 2009, will boost the company’s holding in the play to 250,000 net acres with the potential for 1,800 net drilling locations, said Michael D. Watford, chairman.

“With this acquisition, we believe that our net recovered resource in the Marcellus alone will exceed 8.5 tcfe, an increase of 3.5 tcfe from current estimates,” Watford said.

Ultra Petroleum drilled 30 Marcellus horizontal wells in 2009, 13 of which were producing in late December. Initial production rates for the producing wells average 7.5 MMcfd, and preliminary estimated ultimate recoveries range from 3.5 to 4 bcf.

The company started 2009 with 288,000 gross (152,000 net) acres in the Marcellus. Through a combination of land acquisitions and swaps, including the acquisition to close in February, it has added more than 192,000 gross acres, nearly doubling its position to 480,000 gross (250,000 net) acres.

The company’s expanding core position is concentrated around Tioga, Bradford, Lycoming, Potter, Clinton, and Centre counties.

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