Dallas-based Pioneer Natural Resources Co. has discovered two new natural gas fields in one of its four onshore core areas, the Edwards Trend in South Texas.

The independent said two new wells encountered 150-200 feet of vertical gas pay, and an appraisal well is drilling on one of the discoveries where 3-D seismic is available. Appraisal of the second discovery will begin after 3-D seismic data has been acquired and interpreted in 2008. To date, Pioneer has discovered eight new fields in the Edwards Trend, with most of its current production coming from the Pawnee Field, which is located on the reef of the trend.

Pioneer’s net gas production from the Edwards Trend now is about 60 MMcf/d, which is 50% higher than it was at year-end 2006. Average net gas production is expected to exceed the 30% annual growth rate targeted for 2007 and increase 25% next year based on current 2008 drilling plans, the company said. Pioneer is using multiple isolation packer devices to fracture stimulate gas pay sections in most of its wells, which adds about $1 million to the cost per well. However, the producer said the fracturing results offer a “much more effective stimulation, yielding both increased production rates and reserves.” The enhanced stimulation is increasing average recoverable gas reserves per well by 1-1.5 Bcf to an average of 4.5-5 Bcf per well, Pioneer said.

New treating capacity to handle the increasing gas production continues to be added, and Pioneer said it is making progress on a 37-mile extension of its existing 44-mile gathering pipeline.

More than 900 square miles of 3-D seismic are being shot over discoveries drilled in 2006 and 2007 to allow for the more accurate location of horizontal development wells, Pioneer said. Despite weather-related delays, about one-third of the processed data is now in hand and being interpreted. Another third of the data is expected to be available by the end of 1Q2008, with the remainder being processed through the end of 2008.

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