Good prospects abound at $4/Mcf

With US drilling activity still on the rise, independent producers have enough good prospects to expand natural gas production over the next 3 years, if wellhead prices remain above $4/Mcf, said James Stone, an oil field services analyst at UBS Warburg LLC, New York.Meanwhile, despite an estimated 10-15% drop in costs of oil field services, the aggregate fully loaded finding costs of 57 oil and gas independents increased by more than 30% to nearly $9.80/boe in 2002, compared with $7.40/boe in 2001 and a 5-year average of $6.85/boe, said Robert S. Morris, an analyst for Banc of America Securities, New York."The significant uptick primarily reflects the degradation of the independents' ...

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