AEC'S Ladyfern gas discovery to flow in June

Gas sales forecast for 2001 rises on strength of Ladyfern



Apr 17, 2001, 01:00 ET from Alberta Energy Company Ltd.

    CALGARY, April 17 /PRNewswire/ - Alberta Energy Company Ltd.'s
 significant natural gas discovery at Ladyfern in northeast British Columbia is
 expected to start flowing to market within weeks. Daily production from
 Ladyfern is expected to average between 100 million and 150 million cubic feet
 per day during the last half of 2001.
     "This is one of the most prolific gas discoveries in Western Canada in
 the past 15 years. We are now in the final stages of preparing to ship new
 volumes to energy-hungry markets in Canada and the United States," said Randy
 Eresman, President of AEC Oil & Gas. "This is a remarkable achievement by our
 exploration and development teams. Starting from scratch this winter, we
 drilled nine deep wells in a remote location, testing four high-deliverability
 gas wells. We also constructed a pipeline together with a processing and
 gathering system capable of delivering 170 million cubic feet per day. AEC
 holds a 100 percent interest in its productive wells and facilities."
     With the addition of Ladyfern production, AEC is increasing its 2001 gas
 sales forecast by an average of 75 million cubic feet per day for the entire
 year. The Company's new gas sales forecast for 2001 is between 1.4 billion and
 1.5 billion cubic feet per day. Achieving the middle of this range would
 result in a 35 percent rise over 2000 gas sales. The Company also announced a
 gas sales target for 2002 of between 1.55 billion and 1.65 billion cubic feet
 per day, representing a two-year average growth rate of 22 percent.
     In less than five years, AEC has established itself as a leading B.C.
 producer and landholder. The addition of Ladyfern will take AEC's daily
 production in British Columbia to more than 350 million cubic feet per day,
 the largest in the province. AEC holds 3 million net acres of petroleum lands
 in B.C., which includes 2.6 million net undeveloped acres, making it the
 largest holder of oil and gas property in B.C.
     AEC has now completed the drilling of all of its wells planned for the
 Ladyfern area this season, and tied in four of the most prolific wells. AEC
 also constructed a National Energy Board-regulated pipeline to transport gas
 to the Alberta pipeline network. Field dehydration and production facilities
 are expected to be complete by early June. To date, AEC's investment in
 Ladyfern is approximately $60 million, which includes $19 million for wells,
 $10 million for seismic and $31 million for facilities.
     AEC's Ladyfern discovery well (C-6-H 94-H-1) encountered an intensely
 dolomitized Slave Point carbonate reef at a depth of 9,235 feet below surface.
 It is capable of delivering about 60 million cubic feet of gas per day. Three
 additional wells encountered similar quality reservoir. Two are capable of
 initial production exceeding 50 million cubic feet per day, while the third
 can deliver 25 million cubic feet per day. These four Ladyfern wells are some
 of the best wells ever drilled in Western Canada. An additional fifth gas well
 encountered lower-quality dolomite reservoir that's capable of initial
 production rates of between 5 million and 10 million cubic feet per day. Other
 wells encountered non-commercial reservoir, or 'off-reef,' non-productive
 formation. Due to the reservoir variability, AEC is not able to provide a
 reserve estimate until several months of production have occurred.
     Natural gas from the Ladyfern Slave Point reef has been lean and dry with
 a low hydrogen sulphide content, ranging from 30 to 60 parts per million. Due
 to the high flow rates of these wells, operating costs are expected to be low,
 approximately 25 cents per thousand cubic feet.
     In the Ladyfern region, about 100 kilometres northeast of Fort St. John,
 B.C., drilling is primarily conducted in the winter months. AEC is evaluating
 its extensive proprietary two- and three-dimensional seismic data gathered
 from across the 33,000 acres the Company owns in the discovery region.
 Additional drilling is planned for next winter.
     AEC is focused on Growth, Value and Performance as it builds a Super-
 Independent oil and gas company. This strategy capitalizes on the world-class
 assets and high-quality, long-life reserves that AEC has established in its
 three strong growth platforms - Western Canada, the U.S. Rockies and Ecuador.
 In 2000, the Company set a target to double production from existing assets
 within five years.
     AEC is Canada's largest natural gas producer and one of North America's
 largest independent oil and gas producers. In 2001, daily production is
 expected to exceed 380,000 barrels of oil equivalent. The Company is also
 looking to establish additional growth platforms through new ventures
 exploration in Alaska, the Mackenzie Delta, Australia, Congo and Azerbaijan.
 Midstream natural gas storage and pipelines assets comprise approximately 20
 percent of the Company's asset base and provide a growing source of cash flow.
 Currently, AEC's enterprise value is approximately C$15 billion.
 
     AEC's Common Shares trade on The Toronto Stock Exchange (AEC) and on the
 New York Stock Exchange (AOG). Web site: www.aec.ca.
 
     -------------------------------------------------------------------------
     ADVISORY - Certain information regarding the Company set forth in this
     document, including management's assessment of the Company's future plans
     and operations, may constitute forward-looking statements under
     applicable securities law and necessarily involve risks associated with
     oil and gas exploration, production, marketing, and transportation such
     as loss of market, volatility of prices, currency fluctuations,
     imprecision of reserves estimates, environmental risks, competition from
     other producers and ability to access sufficient capital from internal
     and external sources. As a consequence, actual results may differ
     materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements.
     -------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 
 

SOURCE Alberta Energy Company Ltd.
    CALGARY, April 17 /PRNewswire/ - Alberta Energy Company Ltd.'s
 significant natural gas discovery at Ladyfern in northeast British Columbia is
 expected to start flowing to market within weeks. Daily production from
 Ladyfern is expected to average between 100 million and 150 million cubic feet
 per day during the last half of 2001.
     "This is one of the most prolific gas discoveries in Western Canada in
 the past 15 years. We are now in the final stages of preparing to ship new
 volumes to energy-hungry markets in Canada and the United States," said Randy
 Eresman, President of AEC Oil & Gas. "This is a remarkable achievement by our
 exploration and development teams. Starting from scratch this winter, we
 drilled nine deep wells in a remote location, testing four high-deliverability
 gas wells. We also constructed a pipeline together with a processing and
 gathering system capable of delivering 170 million cubic feet per day. AEC
 holds a 100 percent interest in its productive wells and facilities."
     With the addition of Ladyfern production, AEC is increasing its 2001 gas
 sales forecast by an average of 75 million cubic feet per day for the entire
 year. The Company's new gas sales forecast for 2001 is between 1.4 billion and
 1.5 billion cubic feet per day. Achieving the middle of this range would
 result in a 35 percent rise over 2000 gas sales. The Company also announced a
 gas sales target for 2002 of between 1.55 billion and 1.65 billion cubic feet
 per day, representing a two-year average growth rate of 22 percent.
     In less than five years, AEC has established itself as a leading B.C.
 producer and landholder. The addition of Ladyfern will take AEC's daily
 production in British Columbia to more than 350 million cubic feet per day,
 the largest in the province. AEC holds 3 million net acres of petroleum lands
 in B.C., which includes 2.6 million net undeveloped acres, making it the
 largest holder of oil and gas property in B.C.
     AEC has now completed the drilling of all of its wells planned for the
 Ladyfern area this season, and tied in four of the most prolific wells. AEC
 also constructed a National Energy Board-regulated pipeline to transport gas
 to the Alberta pipeline network. Field dehydration and production facilities
 are expected to be complete by early June. To date, AEC's investment in
 Ladyfern is approximately $60 million, which includes $19 million for wells,
 $10 million for seismic and $31 million for facilities.
     AEC's Ladyfern discovery well (C-6-H 94-H-1) encountered an intensely
 dolomitized Slave Point carbonate reef at a depth of 9,235 feet below surface.
 It is capable of delivering about 60 million cubic feet of gas per day. Three
 additional wells encountered similar quality reservoir. Two are capable of
 initial production exceeding 50 million cubic feet per day, while the third
 can deliver 25 million cubic feet per day. These four Ladyfern wells are some
 of the best wells ever drilled in Western Canada. An additional fifth gas well
 encountered lower-quality dolomite reservoir that's capable of initial
 production rates of between 5 million and 10 million cubic feet per day. Other
 wells encountered non-commercial reservoir, or 'off-reef,' non-productive
 formation. Due to the reservoir variability, AEC is not able to provide a
 reserve estimate until several months of production have occurred.
     Natural gas from the Ladyfern Slave Point reef has been lean and dry with
 a low hydrogen sulphide content, ranging from 30 to 60 parts per million. Due
 to the high flow rates of these wells, operating costs are expected to be low,
 approximately 25 cents per thousand cubic feet.
     In the Ladyfern region, about 100 kilometres northeast of Fort St. John,
 B.C., drilling is primarily conducted in the winter months. AEC is evaluating
 its extensive proprietary two- and three-dimensional seismic data gathered
 from across the 33,000 acres the Company owns in the discovery region.
 Additional drilling is planned for next winter.
     AEC is focused on Growth, Value and Performance as it builds a Super-
 Independent oil and gas company. This strategy capitalizes on the world-class
 assets and high-quality, long-life reserves that AEC has established in its
 three strong growth platforms - Western Canada, the U.S. Rockies and Ecuador.
 In 2000, the Company set a target to double production from existing assets
 within five years.
     AEC is Canada's largest natural gas producer and one of North America's
 largest independent oil and gas producers. In 2001, daily production is
 expected to exceed 380,000 barrels of oil equivalent. The Company is also
 looking to establish additional growth platforms through new ventures
 exploration in Alaska, the Mackenzie Delta, Australia, Congo and Azerbaijan.
 Midstream natural gas storage and pipelines assets comprise approximately 20
 percent of the Company's asset base and provide a growing source of cash flow.
 Currently, AEC's enterprise value is approximately C$15 billion.
 
     AEC's Common Shares trade on The Toronto Stock Exchange (AEC) and on the
 New York Stock Exchange (AOG). Web site: www.aec.ca.
 
     -------------------------------------------------------------------------
     ADVISORY - Certain information regarding the Company set forth in this
     document, including management's assessment of the Company's future plans
     and operations, may constitute forward-looking statements under
     applicable securities law and necessarily involve risks associated with
     oil and gas exploration, production, marketing, and transportation such
     as loss of market, volatility of prices, currency fluctuations,
     imprecision of reserves estimates, environmental risks, competition from
     other producers and ability to access sufficient capital from internal
     and external sources. As a consequence, actual results may differ
     materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements.
     -------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 
 SOURCE Alberta Energy Company Ltd.