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Resolute Rethinks Permian Plan, Production Outlook

Resolute Energy Corp. said Friday it plans to run with the Wolfcamp pack this year and increase net production by more than 50% over the 2012 level, reflecting, in part, recent acquisitions in Midland and Ector counties, TX.

"Approximately 90% of our expected 2013 production increase is attributable to production from our Permian Basin properties, with the remaining increase coming from ongoing organic growth activities," said CEO Nicholas J. Sutton.

The Denver-based company estimates that full-year production this year will be 4.7-5.5 million boe. The midpoint of guidance represents a 50% increase from full-year 2012 production of 3.4 million boe. On a revenue-weighted basis, about 96% of Resolute's production is expected to come from sales of oil and natural gas liquids (NGL), while on a volume-weighted basis approximately 83% is expected to be attributed to oil and NGLs.

"...[I]n light of recent activities near our Permian Basin properties, we have revised our capital plan to incorporate the drilling of three horizontal wells targeting the Wolfcamp formation," Sutton said. "We also plan to drill a horizontal well to test the Turner formation in our Hilight Field in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming."

Sutton said recent acquisitions in the Permian have "dramatically" furthered its efforts to "create strong focus areas" to complement Resolute's long-lived oil production in the Aneth oil field in the Four Corners region. Last December, Resolute closed an initial transaction, to acquire a 32% working interest in oil assets, including existing production and undeveloped acreage, in the Permian from private parties for $125 million.

"As a result, for 2013 we anticipate that, while gross production in Aneth Field should grow year-over-year by an estimated 10%, Aneth's contribution to total company production should decline from about 70% to about 45%," he said. "As these changes flow through, we are confident that we will continue to develop our organic growth potential while managing the higher degree of leverage resulting from the acquisitions."

The company said its plans for the Permian Basin this year have changed "materially" since the guidance it gave at the end of February. "As of April 1, 2013, we are now the operator of our properties in Midland and Ector counties, which we refer to as our Gardendale properties. In our updated capital plan we now expect the Permian Basin to account for approximately $85 to $90 million, or 40% of capital spending, up from $50 to $55 million, or 35% of original budget," Sutton said.

"Because of the very successful results achieved by peer companies near our Gardendale properties, we plan to reduce our vertical well program to 20 gross and net wells while undertaking a three-well horizontal program starting in June. This horizontal drilling program will target the prolific Wolfcamp formation, which has shown encouraging results in wells that are nearby or immediately adjacent to our acreage."

In Wyoming, the company's revised plans call for "a significant increase" in activity in the Hilight Field in the Powder River Basin. "The 3D seismic survey that we acquired in 2012 has generated Mowry and Turner projects that we will pursue in 2013. The Mowry project will include three gross and net recompletions similar to the nine that are currently on production," Sutton said. "If these recompletions validate the seismic data, a horizontal program may develop. In addition, we plan to drill one gross and net horizontal well targeting overlapping Turner and Niobrara targets."

This year Resolute expects to invest $195-220 million for its base development activities and intends to fund more than 85% of the 2013 capital program from internally generated cash flow from operations and from the receipt of $47 million in proceeds from the sale of certain Aneth properties early this year.

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