HOUSTON, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ultra Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: UPL) today announced that it has signed a purchase and sale agreement to acquire approximately 80,000 (net) acres in the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale, from a private company. Following the acquisition, Ultra Petroleum will hold approximately 250,000 net acres in this region, with the potential for 1,800 net drilling locations. Ultra Petroleum expects to pay roughly $400.0 million for the assets which will be financed using debt. "We are strategically increasing the scale of our Marcellus position with assets that rival the returns of our current acreage. With this acquisition, we believe that our net recovered resource in the Marcellus alone will exceed 8.5 trillion cubic feet equivalent (Tcfe), an increase of 3.5 Tcfe from current estimates," stated Michael D. Watford, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. The company expects the transaction to close late February 2010, subject to standard closing conditions, with an effective date of October 1, 2009. Ultra Petroleum in the Marcellus Shale 2009 year-to-date, the company has drilled 30 horizontal wells with 13 producing. Initial production (IP) rates for the producing wells average 7,500 Mcf per day with preliminary estimated ultimate recoveries (EURs) ranging from 3.5 to 4.0 Bcf. The company started 2009 with 288,000 gross (152,000 net) acres in the Marcellus. Through a combination of land acquisitions and swaps, including today's announcement, Ultra Petroleum has added over 192,000 gross acres, nearly doubling its position to approximately 480,000 gross (250,000 net) acres. The company's expanding core position is concentrated around Tioga, Bradford, Lycoming, Potter, Clinton and Centre counties in north central Pennsylvania. A PowerPoint presentation regarding the acquisition is posted on Ultra Petroleum's homepage and can be found at www.ultrapetroleum.com. About Ultra Petroleum Ultra Petroleum Corp. is an independent exploration and production company focused on developing its long-life natural gas reserves in the Green River Basin of Wyoming – the Pinedale and Jonah Fields; and is in the early stages of exploration in the Appalachian Basin in Pennsylvania. Ultra is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and trades under the ticker symbol "UPL". The company had 151,443,094 shares outstanding on November 30, 2009.