DENVER, Dec. 11, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PDC Energy, Inc. ("PDC" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:PDCE) today reported its capital budget and production estimates for 2013, strong test results of its first horizontal Utica Shale well, the Onega Commissioners 14-25H, and updated operating results in the Wattenberg Field and Marcellus Shale. 2013 Capital Budget PDC's capital budget for 2013 is approximately $324 million, including $290 million of development capital and $34 million for leasehold acquisitions, exploration and other expenditures. Ninety-five percent of the budget is dedicated to organically growing PDC's portfolio of high-return liquid-rich projects. The Company plans to invest $254 million in the Wattenberg Field in Colorado to add a third rig, drill 63 operated horizontal wells, execute a limited number of refrac/recompletes, and fund non-operated drilling projects and other miscellaneous expenditures. Approximately $53 million is expected to be invested in the Utica Shale in Ohio to drill and complete five horizontal wells and to acquire small leasehold acreage tracts that are contiguous to the Company's existing position. The remaining $17 million will fund a series of recompletion projects, environmental upgrades and other miscellaneous projects related to the Company's operations. In addition, the Company has budgeted approximately $48 million for its 50% share of PDC Mountaineer ("PDCM") joint venture in the Marcellus Shale for drilling and completing 14 wells and for midstream infrastructure. PDCM's capital budget is expected to be funded by the joint venture's cash flow and borrowings under the joint venture's revolving credit facility. 2013 Production Guidance PDC estimates its net production volumes for 2013 will be in the range of 55 to 57 billion cubic feet equivalent ("Bcfe"). The range of production reflects uncertainty around capacity constraints of third party gathering and processing facilities in the Wattenberg Field until planned expansions are completed in mid-to-late 2013. The Company anticipates that the exit rate for 2013 production will be approximately 175 million cubic feet equivalent ("MMcfe") per day, of which 45% is expected to be comprised of crude oil and natural gas liquids ("NGLs").