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PDC Boosts Reserves in Appalachia, Colorado

PDC Energy Inc.’s total proved reserves went from 193 million boe in 2012 to 266 million boe last year, a record increase thanks in large part to its assets in Colorado and Ohio, where the company continues to focus on liquids production.

Although the company recently sold noncore assets in Colorado and shallow reserves in the Appalachian Basin, the before-tax value of its current reserves increased to $2.7 billion at the end of last year from $1.7 billion in 2012, it said Tuesday. More downspacing in Colorado's Wattenberg field and a bump in the horizontal per-well reserves of its Niobrara and Codell assets there helped the company set a record in 2013. Initial proved reserve bookings in Ohio's Utica Shale, which were 14.4 million boe, also helped.

"Our 2013 year-end reserve estimates set several records for the company, including total proven and 3P reserves, reserve additions, percent liquids, and before tax PV-10 value. Additionally, we booked reserves from our Utica Shale play and are seeing strong production growth from this emerging liquid-rich area," said CEO James Trimble. "We also experienced solid production for the full-year 2013 of approximately 7.3 million boe. Our plan is to ramp up the pace of development by adding a fifth drilling rig in the Wattenberg in the second quarter of 2014 and a second drilling rig in the Utica in the second half of 2014."

Last month, the company said it would spend $647 million, mostly for exploration and production in Colorado and Ohio, with an aim of boosting its liquids mix to 60% of total production (see Shale Daily, Dec. 12, 2013). It issued 2014 guidance at 9.5-10 million boe.

Of its total estimated proved reserves, the company said 54% were liquids and 46% were natural gas. In all, PDC increased its reserves in the Appalachian Basin by 33% year/year, primarily in the Marcellus Shale, where the company has suspended new drilling in 2014 as it focuses on liquids production.

Total 3P reserves, or those the company ultimately believes it can access and recover, jumped 45% to 854 million boe in 2013 from 589 million boe in 2012.

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