The Williams Cos. reported Thursday that its total proved, probable and possible domestic reserves have risen 21% to 8.5 Tcfe from a previous estimate of 7 Tcfe.

The increase in estimated reserves is based on the results of a second-quarter review of Williams’s assets in the Piceance Basin in western Colorado, the Tulsa, OK-based energy company said.

Williams examined topography, recent drilling results, current economic conditions and geological data in advance of the upcoming deployment of 10 new FlexRig drilling rigs from Helmerich & Payne. The company said it expects to receive one new rig per month beginning in November.

The rigs are designed to drill up to 22 wells from a single surface location that is half the size of traditional drilling sites, according to Williams. This should dramatically reduce both the number and the size of surface locations needed to drill wells, it said.

Williams now projects that it will have as many as 4,600 drilling locations in the Piceance Basin, an increase of 50% over previous estimates of 3,500 locations. The 4,600 drilling locations are for operations solely in the valley areas of the Piceance Basin.

Based on this data, Williams raised its estimate of total probable and possible domestic reserves to 5.5 Tcfe from 4 Tcfe. When added to its year-end 2004 proved U.S. reserves of 3 Tcfe, the company’s total reserve portfolio amounted to 8.5 Tcfe, it said.

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