Orleans Energy Ltd.
TSX VENTURE : OEX

Orleans Energy Ltd.

March 28, 2008 06:00 ET

Orleans Energy Expands 2008 Capital Budget and Increases Production Guidance

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - March 28, 2008) - Orleans Energy Ltd. ("Orleans" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:OEX) is pleased to announce that as a result of the recently closed $25.2 million "bought-deal" equity financing, in conjunction with favourable year-to-date operational performance at Kaybob in West Central Alberta, the Company is expanding its 2008 capital expenditures program. The revised capital budget is expected to increase 2008 average daily production to 3,800 to 3,900 boe per day with an anticipated year-end 2008 production rate of 4,300 to 4,400 boe per day.

Orleans' Board of Directors has recently approved an increase in its 2008 exploration and development capital expenditure program to approximately $47 million (the "New 2008 Capital Budget"). The New 2008 Capital Budget now encompasses the drilling of an incremental 5 (4.8 net) wells to a total of 16 (14.3 net) operated wells, with an approximate 89% working interest. This includes eleven (9.3 net) horizontal wells at Kaybob targeting the Triassic Montney formation, three (3.0 net) wells at Gilby targeting the Edmonton, Glauconite and Ellerslie formations, and two (2.0 net) wells at Gordondale potentially encountering two new reservoirs. The New 2008 Capital Budget is programmed to deliver approximately 38% growth in average daily production year-over-year.

The drilling and completion expenditure component of Orleans' New 2008 Capital Budget is projected to be approximately $36 million, with the remaining budgeted funds allocated towards investments in field facilities, undeveloped land and seismic programs. With respect to core area allocation of Orleans' budgeted drilling, completion, wellsite field facilities and pipeline capital expenditures, approximately $31 million is anticipated to be deployed at Kaybob, with the residual capital allocated across the Company's other core areas.

At Kaybob, Orleans' acreage position encompasses 27.5 sections (25.0 net) of land, of which the Company only has one section producing on reduced spacing from three wells. Currently, Orleans has approval to drill on reduced spacing for up to three wells per section on 10 sections of land in Kaybob and has applied for reduced spacing to three wells per section on its remaining 17.5 sections. The Company is undertaking numerous drilling and completion enhancement initiatives, including horizontal drilling along with the application of improved and larger fracture stimulation technology, utilizing the "Packer Plus" multi-stage fracture assembly. Orleans is also incorporating common lease pad drilling as a means to improve productivity and reserves recovery and minimize lease construction, pipeline costs and surface disturbance. The Company's first horizontal well (1.0 net), drilled in the fourth quarter of 2007, was stimulated with a five-stage fracture treatment including 150 tonnes of proppant being displaced along the horizontal section.

Thus far in 2008, the Company has drilled four (3.7 net) horizontal wells at Kaybob. Two (1.9 net) wells have been completed and are currently being tested, and the other two horizontals are drilled and awaiting completion. Orleans is very encouraged by the early completion results of the first two horizontal wells (one drilled on its eastern lands and the other on its western acreage). The East Kaybob horizontal well was fracture stimulated in seven-stages with a total of 160 tonnes of proppant being displaced along the approximate 1,000 metre horizontal leg. The well flow tested at very encouraging test rates such that Orleans is planning to commence pipeline construction work at the end of the second quarter in order to tie-in the well. The West Kaybob horizontal well is currently testing into its tie-in line at increasingly stronger gas rates as the well is presently unloading the fracture fluids associated with a five-stage completion.

Based on the capital expenditures anticipated within the New 2008 Capital Budget, average daily production for fiscal 2008 is projected at approximately 3,800 to 3,900 boe per day, weighted 80% natural gas and 20% light crude oil and natural gas liquids. The mid-point of the forecasted production range represents a 38% increase over Orleans' 2007 average daily production of 2,796 boe per day and a 120% increase over the Company's 2006 average daily production level of 1,750 boe per day. Thus far in 2008, from January 1 through to March 23, 2008, the Company's estimated average daily production is approximately 3,600 boe per day. Orleans' year-end 2008 production rate is anticipated to range 4,300 to 4,400 boe per day.

With regards to cash flow from operations for 2008, utilizing commodity price assumptions of: US$90.00 per barrel ("bbl") for West Texas Intermediate ("WTI") oil, an AECO gas price of C$8.00 per thousand cubic feet ("Mcf") and an exchange rate of 1C$ = 0.985US$, cash flow from operations generated from the median of the forecasted 2008 average daily production range is estimated at approximately $38 million or $0.88 per share (basic outstanding). Based on the aforementioned New 2008 Capital Budget and corresponding cash flow projection, Orleans' year-end net debt balance is projected to approximate $35 million, as compared to its $60 million borrowing capacity on the Company's operating credit facility with a Canadian chartered bank.

Orleans Energy Ltd. is a Calgary, Alberta-based emerging crude oil and natural gas company, with common shares trading on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol "OEX". Orleans is a team of dedicated, experienced professionals focused on the creation of shareholder value via acquisition and development of crude oil and natural gas assets in Alberta.

Certain information regarding the Company contained herein may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Forward-looking statements may include estimates, plans, anticipations, expectations, intentions, opinions, forecasts, projections, guidance or other similar statements that are not statements of fact. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. These statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and may be based on assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking statements. The Company's forward-looking statements are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.

In this news release, reserves and production data are commonly stated in barrels of oil equivalent ("boe") using a six to one conversion ratio when converting thousands of cubic feet of natural gas ("mcf") to barrels of oil ("bbl") and a one to one conversion ratio for natural gas liquids ("NGLs" or "ngls"). Such conversion may be misleading, particularly if used in isolation. A boe conversion ratio of 6 mcf: 1 bbl is based on energy equivalency conversion method primarily applicable at the burner tip and does not represent a value equivalency at the wellhead.

As an indicator of the Company's performance, the term cash flow from operations or operating cash flow contained within this news release should not be considered as an alternative to, or more meaningful than, cash flow from operating activities as determined in accordance with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"). This term does not have a standardized meaning under GAAP and may not be comparable to other companies. Orleans believes that cash flow from operations is a useful supplementary measure as shareholders and/or investors may use this information to analyze operating performance, leverage and liquidity. Cash flow from operations, as disclosed within this news release, represents cash flow from operating activities before changes in non-cash operating activities working capital. The Company presents cash flow from operations per share whereby per share amounts are calculated consistent with the calculation of earnings per share.

Net debt refers to projected bank debt plus estimated working capital deficit (excludes any current unrealized amounts pertaining to risk management commodity contracts). Net debt is not a recognized measure under Canadian GAAP.

The TSX Venture Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.

Contact Information

  • Orleans Energy Ltd.
    Barry Olson
    President & CEO
    (403) 215-2941
    (403) 261-8850 (FAX)
    Email: bolson@orleansenergy.com
    or
    Orleans Energy Ltd.
    Dean Bernhard
    Vice President, Finance & CFO
    (403) 215-2945
    (403) 261-8850 (FAX)
    Email: dbernhard@orleansenergy.com
    or
    Orleans Energy Ltd.
    Head office: Suite 1200, 500-4th Avenue S.W.
    Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2V6
    Website: www.orleansenergy.com