CALGARY, ALBERTA -- (Marketwire) -- 01/07/13 -- Crew Energy Inc. ("Crew" or the "Company") (TSX: CR) is pleased to announce its Board of Directors has approved a 2013 capital budget of $219 million. The 2013 program is designed to focus on the Company's operating strategy to invest in the highest rate of return projects while also further defining and capturing hydrocarbon resource. Funding of this program will come from cash flow from operations and bank debt. The 2013 program is expected to provide 15% liquids growth spearheaded by the drilling of 101 (99.0 net) wells with 87% of the wells targeting oil and 13% of the wells targeting liquids rich natural gas.
In 2012, Crew achieved its target exit rate of 28,000 boe per day prior to the closing of the Kobes disposition (sale of 625 boe per day) and is estimating fourth quarter production based on preliminary field estimates of approximately 27,000 boe per day, an increase of approximately 3% over the prior quarter. With the sale of 625 boe per day and the shut-in of 400 boe per day of natural gas production that became uneconomic with the expiration of a transportation contract late in 2012, Crew is currently producing approximately 27,000 boe per day. In the fourth quarter, the Company drilled 24 gross wells including one well at Kobes which was included in the fourth quarter disposition, one well each at Septimus and the Deep Basin which were part of the accelerated 2013 program; 13 wells at Princess including a horizontal well that tested at a rate of 800 boe per day based on 144 hours and eight heavy oil wells at Lloydminster which included three successful horizontal wells at Wildmere that tested two separate Mannville formations. We also initiated water injection on our eighth waterflood at Princess as part of our long term enhanced recovery project and completed a produced water disposal well at Septimus that will eliminate approximately $1.0 million of water handling costs annually.
Production growth is forecasted to accelerate throughout 2013 with a target exit rate of 29,000 to 30,000 boe per day and an annual average of 27,500 to 28,500 boe per day. This year's program will maintain a focus on secondary recovery programs at Princess and Lloydminster with a forecasted four to six new projects planned. These investments provide some of the highest rates of return in the Company and are expected to measurably reduce corporate declines over time. Capital will also be allocated to land retention and resource capture initiatives at Septimus and in the greater Kakwa area of the Deep Basin. Complementary asset acquisitions are continually being monitored and evaluated but are presently not part of the exploration and development budget.
Crew plans to invest in its four main operating areas; Lloydminster, Princess, Septimus and the Deep Basin in 2013. The Company's ability to invest at attractive economics in these areas has been enhanced by the Company's 2013 hedging program with 48% of forecasted natural gas production and 37% of forecasted liquids production hedged at attractive prices.
At Lloydminster, Crew expects to drill 60 wells where the Company is following up on a number of 2012 exploration and development successes on lands acquired in 2011 and on recently purchased Crown land. Company owned processing infrastructure provides excellent logistics and superior netbacks and the low capital costs consistently generate exceptional returns even in the current wide heavy oil differential environment. In addition to the drilling program, the Company plans to recomplete 40 to 60 wells in the area in 2013.
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