November 07, 2005 18:00 ET

ExAlta Energy Inc. Announces 2006 Budget

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 7, 2005) -


The Board of Directors of the ExAlta Energy Inc. (TSX:EXA) ("ExAlta") has approved a 2006 capital expenditure program of $52.1 million, an increase of 32% over the 2005 capital program estimated at $39.5 million. The budget includes the drilling of 67 gross (37.1 net) wells in 2006 comprised of 33 exploration wells and 34 development wells. The Corporation's exit rate target for 2006 is 5,000 boe per day, an increase of 67% over the 2005 exit rate target of 3,000 boe per day.

Ongoing growth in ExAlta's land and 3D seismic position is key to the expansion of ExAlta's capital expenditures in 2006. In late October, ExAlta entered into an agreement setting out the terms of a regional farmin and joint venture with a senior producer on lands located in the Eaglesham - Tangent area in the North Central Arch area. ExAlta has committed to drill and complete six Wabamun tests on the farmor's lands to earn a 50% interest in six sections. As part of the joint venture, ExAlta will have access to over 100 square miles of contiguous 3D seismic in the area and will operate a regional exploration program. ExAlta has also recently farmed in on nine sections at Clayhurst with a one well commitment and rolling options, the first well of which will test the Charlie Lake zone. Seismic data and geological mapping show a number of prospects on these lands.

During the third quarter of 2005, ExAlta's success at Crown land sales continued with the acquisition of 8 sections contiguous with land acquired in the first quarter at Worsley in the Northwest Arch area. 3D programs comprising 24 sections shot at Howard, Worsley, Clear Hills and the Alexis First Nation lands during the third quarter are now being interpreted with initial indications of several promising targets on each block.

The ExAlta team's mission to conduct balanced exploration and development programs in each of two focus areas continues as planned. The Corporation's development programs will provide substantial production growth in the fourth quarter of 2005 providing a strong foundation in 2006 for pursuing an increased number of high quality exploration and development opportunities. The expanded 2006 capital program demonstrates the confidence of the ExAlta team in continuing to enhance shareholder value with increasing production and reserves per share. ExAlta's 2006 business plan will maintain the Corporation's strong balance sheet, allowing the Corporation to take advantage of additional new opportunities as they develop.

The ExAlta Energy Inc. Corporate Presentation has been updated and can be viewed on the Corporation's website at www.exalta.ca.

Contact Information

  • ExAlta Energy Inc.
    James S. Blair
    President & Chief Executive Officer
    (403) 206-2404
    ExAlta Energy Inc.
    Ian R. Robinson
    Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
    (403) 206-2410
    Website: www.exalta.ca.