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EQT production up, impressed with performance of WV wells

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EQT Corp. is impressed with its wells in West Virginia.

"We've begun implementing reduced cluster spacing in Doddridge and Ritchie counties with tremendous success," said EQT Chairman, President and CEO David Porges April 25 during the company's first-quarter earnings conference call.

Reduced cluster spacing, or RCS, is a hydraulic fracturing technique that puts clusters of perforations in the horizontal section of the wellbore closer together than has typically been done.

Altogether, taking 17 wells in Doddridge, Ritchie and Wetzel counties into account, Porges said, the early results lead to average estimated ultimate recovery levels of just under 2 billion cubic feet equivalent per 1,000 feet drilled — compared with an average of 1.7 bcfe/1,000 feet for the company's Tier 1 wells, a high measure of quality.

Overall, the company is coming off "another record quarter" in both production and midstream, Porges said.

It announced production sales volumes of 79.4 bcfe, 47 percent higher than in the first quarter of 2012, with Marcellus production sales volumes up 103 percent.

Natural gas liquids volumes were up 52 percent over the same period last year.

And midstream gathered volumes were 42 percent higher.

First quarter 2013 earnings were $100.3 million, up from $72 million in the first quarter of 2012; operating income was $199 million, up 31 percent.

Earnings per share and adjusted cash flow per share were higher due to increased production sales, increased gathered volumes and transmission throughput, and higher sales at distribution,  which were partially offset by lower realized commodity prices, the company said.

Net operating revenues increased $92 million, or 25 percent, to $458 million in the quarter, while net operating expenses rose by $46 million, or 21 percent, to $260 million.

With plans for 153 Marcellus wells in 2013, EQT drilled 33 wells in the Marcellus during the first quarter, with an average length of pay of 4,898 feet. It also drilled its first two Utica wells and six Upper Devonian wells in the quarter.

Further details are available in the full earnings release.

EQT shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol EQT.