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CALGARY, Oct. 22, 2013 /CNW/ - Enerplus Corporation ("Enerplus") (TSX: ERF) (NYSE: ERF) is pleased to announce that as a result of strong operational performance, we are increasing our 2013 estimates for annual average and exit production while maintaining our capital spending guidance.
Production for the nine months ended September 30, 2013 averaged 88,300 BOE/day, ahead of our full year forecast of 85,000 BOE/day. During the third quarter, we produced an average of 87,700 BOE/day, down slightly from the second quarter, but in line with expectations due to planned turn-around activity, lower capital spending earlier in the year and the sale of 1,300 BOE/day of non-core production. Production during the third quarter was weighted 48% to crude oil and natural gas liquids.
We continue to see strong performance from our core areas in both Canada and the U.S. with our Bakken and Marcellus assets delivering ahead of expectations. Production from the Fort Berthold region averaged approximately 18,000 BOE/day in the third quarter, up 19% from the second quarter, achieving our 2013 forecast exit rate ahead of schedule. Production from the Marcellus region also continues to surpass our expectations, averaging over 83 MMcf/day during the third quarter, compared to our previous 2013 exit forecast of 75 MMcf/day. Given this strong performance, we now expect daily production will average approximately 87,500 BOE/day during 2013.We have also entered into an agreement to sell, subject to customary closing conditions, an additional 900 BOE/day of non-core liquids production for approximately $105 million before closing adjustments. The increase in annual average guidance to 87,500 BOE/day assumes the closing of the sale in the fourth quarter. Despite the announced divestments we are also increasing our exit production forecast to 88,000 BOE/day, which is the high end of our original guidance range. Crude oil and liquids are still expected to represent approximately 48% of the total production forecast. We remain on track with our original capital guidance of $685 million as well as operating and general and administrative cost guidance. Based upon this updated forecast, we expect to deliver total annual average production growth of approximately 7% in 2013 representing 4% production growth per share.