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PDC Energy Announces Increases in 2013 Capital Budget and Estimated Net Production, and Signing of Midstream Agreement in the Utica Shale

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DENVER, March 18, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PDC Energy, Inc. ("PDC" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:PDCE) today announced an increase in the Company's capital budget and estimated net production for 2013. The Company also announced the signing of an agreement for the provision of midstream services in the Utica Shale.

PDC's capital budget increased from $365 million to $443 million, 85% of which is allocated to accelerate development of liquid-rich projects in the Wattenberg Field and Utica Shale. The Wattenberg Field budget increased $26 million to $280 million to accommodate the projected start-up of a third rig in May, 2013. For the year, the Company expects to drill a total of 69 horizontal wells in the liquid-rich Niobrara and Codell formations.

The Company also increased its budget for the Utica Shale from $53 million to $96 million to maintain a one-rig drilling program throughout 2013 and drill a total of 11 horizontal wells. The Utica budget includes approximately $7 million for leasehold acquisitions. The full-year drilling program was facilitated by the execution of long-term agreements with a subsidiary of MarkWest Energy Partners, LP (NYSE:MWE) ("MarkWest") to provide midstream services, including gas gathering, processing, fractionation, and marketing to support PDC's Utica operations in Guernsey County in southeast Ohio. PDC expects MarkWest to begin gathering its Guernsey County gas by the end of the second quarter of 2013 and marketing its residue gas and natural gas liquids at the tailgate of the MarkWest processing facilities.

The remaining $9 million increase is related to the Company's joint venture ("PDCM") in the Marcellus Shale to reflect the startup of its 2013 horizontal drilling program in January rather than March as originally budgeted. PDCM's capital budget is expected to be funded largely by the joint venture's cash flow and borrowings under the joint venture's revolving credit facility.

Guidance for 2013 net production, pro forma for the sale of non-core Colorado assets, has been adjusted to a range of 7.0 to 7.5 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) as a result of the increase in the capital budget and the drilling of 13 additional horizontal wells. Net production volumes for 2013 are expected to be comprised of approximately 54% liquids and 46% natural gas. The benefit of additional production from the accelerated drilling program is expected to be realized beginning in the fourth quarter of 2013 and into 2014.

James Trimble, Chief Executive Officer and President, commented, "We are very excited to accelerate our liquid-rich development with the addition of a third horizontal rig in the prolific core Wattenberg Field and extending our one-rig drilling program in the Utica Shale for the full year 2013. These two plays are expected to drive the Company's organic growth for many years as we continue to increase the liquids percentage of our production and reserves and establish a more balanced portfolio of oil and natural gas."

Upcoming Investor Presentations and Analyst Day

PDC management is scheduled to present at the Howard Weil Energy Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Wednesday, March 20, 2013. PDC management also plans to host an Analyst Day in New York on Thursday, April 4, 2013. Please see the Company's website at www.pdce.com for full details and webcast information. The related slide presentations are expected to be available on the Company's website immediately prior to the events.

About PDC Energy, Inc.

PDC Energy is a domestic independent energy company engaged in the exploration, development and production of crude oil, NGLs and natural gas. Its operations are focused primarily in the liquid-rich Wattenberg Field of Colorado, including the horizontal Niobrara and Codell plays, the Utica Shale in Ohio and the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia. PDC is included in the S&P SmallCap 600 Index and the Russell 3000 Index of Companies.

NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 regarding PDC's business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. All statements other than statements of historical facts included in and incorporated by reference into this report are forward-looking statements. Words such as expects, anticipates, intends, plans, believes, seeks, estimates and similar expressions or variations of such words are intended to identify forward-looking statements herein, which include statements regarding PDC's 2013 capital expenditure plans, including drilling plans in the Utica, Marcellus and the Wattenberg Field in 2013 and plans for the additional drilling rigs, future financial and operational results, future production (including the components of such production), future growth, the timing and nature of gathering and marketing activities under the MarkWest contract, PDCM's 2013 capital expenditure plans, and sources of funding for those plans, and management's strategies, plans and objectives. However, these are not the exclusive means of identifying forward-looking statements herein. Although forward-looking statements contained in this report reflect the Company's good faith judgment, such statements can only be based on facts and factors currently known to PDC. Consequently, forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, including risks and uncertainties incidental to the exploration for, and the acquisition, development, production and marketing of natural gas and oil, and actual outcomes may differ materially from the results and outcomes discussed in the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to:

changes in production volumes, demand and commodity prices for natural gas, oil and NGLs;

the availability of sufficient pipeline, gathering and other transportation facilities and related infrastructure to process and transport PDC's production, particularly in the Wattenberg Field and Utica Shale; the impact of these facilities and infrastructure on price and possible impediments to anticipated increases in midstream capacity;

  • changes in estimates of proved reserves;
  • the availability of sufficient pipeline, gathering and other transportation facilities and related infrastructure to process and transport PDC's production, particularly in the Wattenberg Field and Utica Shale; the impact of these facilities and infrastructure on price and possible impediments to anticipated increases in midstream capacity;
  • changes in estimates of proved reserves;
  • declines in the values of PDC's natural gas and oil properties resulting in impairments;
  • the timing and extent of the Company's success in discovering, acquiring, developing and producing natural gas and oil reserves;
  • PDC's ability to acquire leases, drilling rigs, supplies and services at reasonable prices;
  • reductions in the borrowing base under the Company's credit facility or other adverse changes to the Company's liquidity;
  • risks incident to the drilling and operation of natural gas and oil wells;
  • future production and development costs;
  • the effect of existing and future laws, governmental regulations and the political and economic climate of the United States of America;
  • changes in environmental laws and the regulations and enforcement related to those laws and the timely receipt of permits under those laws;
  • the identification of and severity of environmental events and governmental responses to the events;
  • the effect of natural gas and oil derivative activities;
  • potential obstacles to completing PDC's pending asset disposition or other transactions in a timely manner or at all, and purchase price or other adjustments relating to those transactions that may be unfavorable to PDC;
  • conditions in the capital markets; and
  • losses possible from pending or future litigation.

Further, PDC urges you to carefully review and consider the cautionary statements made in this press release, the Item 1-A Risk Factors in the 2012 Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") on February 27, 2013, and other filings with the SEC for further information on risks and uncertainties that could affect the Company's business, financial condition and results of operations, which are incorporated by this reference as though fully set forth herein. The Company cautions you not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. PDC undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements in order to reflect any event or circumstance occurring after the date of this release or currently unknown facts or conditions or the occurrence of unanticipated events. All forward looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. Estimates of non-proved reserves are subject to significantly greater risk of not being produced than proved reserves. Initial and test results from a well are not necessarily indicative of the well's long-term performance.

CONTACT: Ron Wirth Vice President Finance and Treasurer 303-860-5830 ron.wirth@pdce.com Marti Dowling Investor Relations Manager 303-831-3926 marti.dowling@pdce.com

Source:PDC Energy