"Drilling and completion efficiency has also improved significantly," he said. "We have decreased costs by 15 percent from a year ago, representing savings of $1.3-$2 million per well, depending on the formation's depth and reservoir characteristics. We expect to be able to capture additional cost savings in the year ahead, as we incorporate more lessons learned from being the most active driller in the play and analyzing data from the 120-plus Granite Wash wells we've operated as well as results from other operators in the area. The more we drill, the more we learn and the better the economics of the Granite Wash play get."
Johnston noted that the depositional thickness of the Granite Wash play on Apache's acreage in Texas and western Oklahoma averages an estimated 2,700 feet (gross). Because Granite Wash reservoirs are sandier than shale-based formations, they can provide for more prolific wells. Like shales, they provide more predictability and repeatability than conventional oil and gas plays.
Apache currently has more than 350,000 net acres in the Granite Wash and in excess of 22,800 identified well locations in this play remaining in its drilling inventory.
In both the Tonkawa and Granite Wash plays, operating improvements include more effective well designs and operations, such as using new drilling bit technology and cementing procedures to reach target depths more quickly; replacing diesel with natural gas for rig fuel, which is cleaner and less expensive; and pad drilling, which reduces trucking and rig mobilization costs. On the completion side, Johnston cited the region's ability to achieve the same results with fewer and smaller wellbore fracture stimulations, pumping less fluid and proppant, and recycling more completion fluid. The combined benefits provide meaningful enhancements to the overall rate of return for Apache. The company expects to drill about 100 wells in each play during 2013.About Apache Apache Corporation is an oil and gas exploration and production company with operations in the United States, Canada, Egypt, the United Kingdom North Sea, Australia and Argentina. Apache posts announcements, operational updates, investor information and copies of all press releases on its website, www.apachecorp.com. Forward-looking statementsThis news 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. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as "anticipates," "intends," "plans," "seeks," "believes," "estimates," "expects" and similar references to future periods. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements about seismic data acquisition, potential drilling locations, planned drilling activity, future production, and exploration prospects, and Apache's ability to execute on production and development plans in the Central Region. While forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and analyses made by us that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, whether actual results and developments will meet our expectations and predictions depend on a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results, performance, and financial condition to differ materially from our expectations. See "Risk Factors" in our 2012 Form 10-K and our subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a discussion of risk factors that affect our business. Any forward-looking statement made by us in this news release speaks only as of the date on which it is made. Factors or events that could cause our actual results to differ may emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict all of them. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future development, or otherwise, except as may be required by law. APA-USC