Comstock plans 6% increase for 2009 budget

Independent Comstock Resources Inc., Frisco, Tex., has set an initial 2009 capital budget of $450 million, which represents a 6% year-over-year increase from its 2008 budget.

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Jan. 6 -- Independent Comstock Resources Inc., Frisco, Tex., has set an initial 2009 capital budget of $450 million, which represents a 6% year-over-year increase from its 2008 budget.

Last year, Comstock raised its 2008 budget three times, and the company's decision to spend more this year comes at a time when many operators have cut 2009 spending plans.

Comstock's 2009 operational focus is the Haynesville shale. Of the overall budget, 89% is allocated toward development of East Texas-North Louisiana acreage where the company plans to drill 49 development wells in 2009.

Drilling plans call for 32 Haynesville horizontals and 4-5 Cotton Valley horizontals. The remaining 11% of the budget will be allocated to the South Texas region, where the company plans to drill about 7 wells.

Comstock's biggest growth driver in 2008 was its vertical Cotton Valley drilling program, but similar drilling will be deferred in 2009 because of low natural gas prices. Haynesville horizontal wells are most expensive but Comstock expects them to be more productive than Cotton Valley vertical wells.

Comstock completed its first Haynesville horizontal well in December 2008. The BSMC LA 7 No. 1 H had an initial production rate of 9 MMcfd of gas equivalent. Comstock has 88% working interest in that wells.

Already, Comstock has drilled several other Haynesville horizontal wells with results expected soon. The company has an estimated 70,004 net acres prospective for the Haynesville shale.

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