Southwestern Energy announced its "outstanding" financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and 2013 year ended Dec. 31, attributing much of the success to the Fayetteville Shale.

"Our Fayetteville Shale division had one of its best years ever in 2013, not only by surpassing the milestone of three [trillion cubic feet] of cumulative gross operated production, but also by achieving our highest average initial production rate per well at the lowest average cost per well since we began drilling in the Fayetteville in 2004," said Steve Mueller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Southwestern Energy, in a news release Thursday.

Nine of the company’s ten highest initial production rate wells in the history of the Fayetteville Shale were drilled and placed on production during the third and fourth quarters of 2013.

In the fourth quarter of 2013, Southwestern placed on production its three highest initial production rate wells since the inception of its drilling program in the Fayetteville Shale.

Located in Conway County, the wells achieved peak 24-hour production rates of about 12,000 thousand cubic feet (Mcf) per day. The company’s wells placed on production during the fourth quarter of 2013 averaged initial production rates of 4,877 Mcf per day.

Of the $2.1 billion invested in the company’s Exploration & Production business in 2013, $907 million was invested in the Fayetteville Shale.

Of the $907 million invested in the Fayetteville Shale, which included $804 million to spud 527 wells, 504 of which were operated. Total capital investments in the Fayetteville Shale during 2013 also included $6 million for the acquisition of properties and $97 million in capitalized costs and other expenses.

At December 31, 2013, Southwestern held leases for approximately 905,684 net acres in the Fayetteville Shale area, compared to approximately 913,502 net acres at year-end 2012.

Southwestern’s net gas production from the Fayetteville Shale was 486.0 Bcf (billion cubic feet) in 2013, compared to 485.5 Bcf in 2012. Gross operated gas production in the Fayetteville Shale was approximately 2,011 MMcf (million cubic feet per day) at the end of 2013 compared to approximately 2,090 MMcf per day at the end of 2012.

Total proved reserves in the Fayetteville Shale grew by 60 percent to 4,795 Bcf in 2013, compared to 2,988 Bcf in 2012.

"We have also had a strong start in 2014, with gas prices beginning the year well above the $4.00 per Mcf (thousand cubic foot) level. Our focus, however, remains the same to add more value every day through our current drilling programs while keeping our costs low, all the while building for the future with new exploration ideas," Mueller said. "I want to thank all of our employees for our record-setting performance in 2013. It looks like Southwestern Energy will be setting new records again in 2014."

In 2014, Southwestern plans to invest approximately $900 million in the Fayetteville Shale and drill approximately 460 to 470 gross horizontal wells, all of which will be operated by the company.

(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at or by phone at 505-1215. Send us your news at