By focusing on three development projects in the Uinta, Piceance and Powder River basins, Bill Barrett Corp. expects to boost its production by almost 20% this year, the company said Thursday.

The Denver-based independent, which will issue its 4Q2007 report in February, said its 2007 output rose 17% to 61.2 Bcfe — despite shutting in production in the last half of the year, which reduced total output by 3 Bcfe. The shut-ins across its Rocky Mountain leasehold followed “lower than acceptable pricing and infrastructure constraints,” which are expected to be alleviated this year with the ramp-up of the Rockies Express Pipeline, the company said.

Bill Barrett’s year-end estimated proved reserves totaled 558 Bcfe, or 30% higher than at year-end 2006. The reserves were weighted 97% to natural gas and are 59% developed. In addition, the company estimates it has probable and possible reserves of 1.4 Tcfe, for total proved, probable and possible reserves of 2.0 Tcfe.

“The reserve increase was achieved with total estimated capital expenditures of $438 million, or $1.88/Mcfe added,” said CEO Fred Barrett. “Over the past three years we have delivered compound average reserve growth of 24% and production growth of 25%, demonstrating both our ability to execute and our commitment to growth.”

The board of directors approved a capital budget “that ranges between $550 million and $600 million” for this year, he said. “Our production guidance of 70-77 Bcfe is based solely on our development programs. Beyond our development activities, we are excited to move forward with additional drilling based on the positive 2007 preliminary results at the Yellow Jacket and Blacktail Ridge prospects, as well as continued drilling assessment in Circus. We also look forward to drilling several new prospects during 2008 in the Paradox, Uinta, Wind River and Big Horn basins.”

Also, Houston-based Goodrich Petroleum Corp. said Thursday it has set a preliminary capital expenditure budget for 2008 of $275 million and closed a $75 million second lien term loan. About $245 million of this year’s budget is earmarked for gas-weighted drilling and completing an estimated 115 new wells, the independent said.

Goodrich said that this year it “plans to maintain an aggressive organic drilling program on its current 185,000 gross acreage position in the Cotton Valley trend of East Texas and Northwest Louisiana.” In that leasehold, the company currently has nine operated drilling rigs under contract. This year Goodrich also plans to invest $30 million in new infrastructure and lease acquisitions in its Cotton Valley leasehold. Included in the company’s drilling and completion plans are about 50 gross wells in the Angelina River Trend, 28 wells in the Beckville and North Minden fields, 17 wells at Bethany-Longstreet, 12 wells in the South Henderson Field and eight wells on other acreage it controls.

“Closing of the second lien term loan, along with the December equity offering of $124 million of net proceeds and expected cash flow, provides us with ample liquidity to meet our capital expenditure budgetary needs well into 2009,” said CEO Walter G. “Gil” Goodrich. He said the company “will continue to focus our efforts on production volume growth, cost reduction and expanding our drilling opportunities in our core operating areas.”

©Copyright 2008Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news reportmay not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in anyform, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.