CALGARY, June 12, 2012 /CNW/ - Enerplus Corporation ("Enerplus") (TSX: ERF) (NYSE: ERF) today reiterated production growth targets for 2012. We continue to expect to deliver 10% organic production growth through a capital spending program designed to increase crude oil production significantly throughout the year and preserve the value of our core natural gas assets for the future.
Approximately 70% of our forecasted $800 million capital spending in 2012 is weighted to crude oil and natural gas liquids projects. Approximately 40% of this capital is being directed to our light crude oil assets in the North Dakota region where production is expected to double by year end. We will continue to invest with our partners in the Marcellus shale gas play, which we believe is one of the best natural gas plays in North America. Our focus is to preserve our lease interests and retain the value of this significant asset for the future.
We continue to pursue the monetization or joint venture of a portion of our strategic undeveloped land base. Over the past three years, we have amassed over 170,000 net acres of strategic land in the Montney and Duvernay as well as our operated acreage in the Marcellus that contains significant future drilling potential. Along with the sale of our equity portfolio, we expect that we could generate $250 - $500 million of proceeds over the next 12 - 18 months that will help fund our future growth strategies.
Despite our operational success year-to-date, commodity prices have weakened and resulted in lower forecast cash flows. While our balance sheet is currently strong and we have significant liquidity with respect to our credit capacity, we are reducing our monthly dividend from CDN$0.18 per share to CDN$0.09 per share. We believe this reduction will strike a better balance between yield and growth, allowing continued investment into our asset base in a more sustainable manner. We remain committed to a strategy that provides investors with a dividend and growth investment.As stated, the new dividend amount of CDN$0.09 per share will be effective with the July payment and will not impact the dividend payable on June 20, 2012. Gordon J. Kerr President & Chief Executive Officer Enerplus Corporation Currency, BOE and Operational Information All dollar amounts or references to "$" in this news release are in Canadian dollars unless specified otherwise. Enerplus has adopted the standard of 6 Mcf:1 BOE when converting natural gas to BOEs. BOEs may be misleading particularly if used in isolation. A BOE conversion ratio of 6 Mcf:1 BOE is based on an energy equivalency conversion method primarily applicable at the burner tip and does not represent a value equivalency at the wellhead. Given that the value ratio based on the current price of crude oil as compared to natural gas is significantly different from the energy equivalency of 6:1, utilizing a conversion on a 6:1 basis may be misleading as an indication of value. Unless otherwise stated, all oil and gas production information and estimates are presented on a gross basis, before deducting royalty interests.