Athabasca Oil Announces 2013 Capital Budget and Production Guidance

Athabasca Oil Announces 2013 Capital Budget and Production Guidance 
CALGARY, Dec. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - Athabasca Oil Corporation (TSX: ATH) is pleased 
to announce its 2013 capital budget and production guidance. The Company plans 
to invest $798 million to develop its Light Oil and Thermal Oil assets in 
Alberta. Capital expenditures will be financed from cash-on-hand, low-interest 
debt and cash flow from production. Athabasca reaffirms that it is on track to 
exit 2012 with 10,000 to 11,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) from 
its assets in the liquids-rich Deep Basin. 
Positioning the Company for growth, the 2013 capital investment includes $236 
million for organically driven exploration and production (E&P) activities in 
the Light Oil Division and $533 million to advance Athabasca's various Thermal 
Oil assets, including the construction of its wholly-owned Hangingstone 
Project 1, a 12,000 barrel per day (bbl/d) SAGD project near Fort McMurray. 
"Athabasca exits 2012 as an E&P company with a balanced portfolio of Light Oil 
production and a Thermal Oil project that's been sanctioned by our board of 
directors," says Sveinung Svarte, chief executive officer. "Our Light Oil 
Division is poised to increase production, targeting an exit rate of 11,000 to 
13,000 boe/d by the end the first half of 2013. At the same time, we continue 
to advance our Thermal Oil assets, and expect the Hangingstone Project 1 to be 
on stream before year-end 2014." 
Maintaining capital discipline, Athabasca is well funded to support its 2013 
capital budget, with over $900 million of cash and short-term investments on 
hand, and a $200-million undrawn revolving credit facility. Athabasca will 
conduct a mid-year review of its 2013 capital budget and production guidance, 
assessing well performance, commodity prices and corporate events. 
Light Oil Division 
The Kaybob West and East production facilities are operational and the Saxon 
facility is currently being commissioned, enabling Athabasca to achieve a 
significant corporate milestone by exiting 2012 with 10,000 to 11,000 boe/d. 
It currently produces in excess of 10,000 boe/d with more than 5,000 barrels 
per day of oil and condensate. 
Athabasca plans to invest $236 million in 2013, as the Company advances the 
development of its Light Oil fairway. The Company has allocated sixty percent 
of its annual Light Oil budget (or $137 million) for a development drilling 
program targeting the liquids-rich Montney Formation. Athabasca will utilize 
four to six drilling rigs during its winter 2012/2013 program. 
An additional $15 million has been allocated for a 2-D exploration seismic 
survey and a three-well drilling program at Caribou, the Company's newest 
property which is situated in northwestern Alberta. Athabasca has 680,000 
contiguous acres with Slave Point oil potential in the Caribou area. 
Athabasca has moved swiftly up the learning curve, in terms of understanding 
the fracture characteristics of the liquids-rich Duvernay reservoir, and 
innovative completion techniques have yielded strong production test results. 
All three of the Company's Duvernay wells will be on production by year-end. 
Athabasca will monitor these wells' production performance and decline rates, 
during the next six to nine months, before establishing a development strategy 
for this unconventional play. 
Athabasca's Duvernay land base is comprised of more than 350,000 of 
high-graded net acres, of which approximately 200,000 acres are located at 
Kaybob, in the heart of the fairway. 
"As one of the industry's largest Duvernay land holders, Athabasca is very 
encouraged by its recent well results and by production rates from other wells 
producing in the Duvernay fairway," said Sveinung Svarte. "We are also pleased 
to see recent industry transactions, supporting our view of the economic value 
of the Duvernay." 
In 2012, Athabasca invested $179 million in facilities and infrastructure in 
its Light Oil Division. The 2013 capital investment, for the Light Oil 
Division's facilities and infrastructure, will be $63 million. "We've done 
most of the heavy lifting, with respect to constructing our 100-percent-owned 
production facilities and infrastructure," says Sveinung Svarte. "As we 
transition from exploration to development drilling, particularly in the 
Montney play in the Deep Basin, our new production will be accretive to the 
bottom line." 
Athabasca's Light Oil Division expects to continue its growth next year and to 
exit the first six months of 2013 with a production rate of 11,000 to 13,000 
boe/d. The Company's production facilities are capable of up to 36,000 boe/d 
and 48 mmcf/d of natural gas, enabling flexibility with respect to changing 
commodity prices and market conditions. 
Thermal Oil Division 
Athabasca plans to invest $533 million, in 2013, to develop its various 
Thermal Oil assets near Fort McMurray, including the Hangingstone Projects 1 
and 2 and Dover West. 
By effectively managing the project execution process, Athabasca's in-house 
design and management teams have contractually committed 60 percent of the 
forecasted capital expenditures for the Hangingstone Project 1, a 12,000 bbl/d 
SAGD (or steam assisted gravity drainage) project comprised of a central 
processing facility and four well pads with five SAGD well pairs per pad. 
Drilling of the SAGD well pairs is planned to commence in mid-2013 at the 
Hangingstone Project 1 and facility commissioning is scheduled for Q4 2014. 
The Company plans to follow the Hangingstone Project 1 with two consecutive 
SAGD projects (Hangingstone 2 and 3), bringing the area's potential production 
to more than 80,000 bbl/d. During 2013, Athabasca will construct 
infrastructure in the Hangingstone area, and will undertake an appraisal 
drilling program to further evaluate the bitumen resources that will supply 
the Hangingstone 2 Project. 
At Dover West, Athabasca plans to invest $42 million during 2013, comprised of 
building roads and other infrastructure. The Company continues to advance its 
in-house geoscientific evaluation of its sand and carbonate plays. The TAGD 
(Thermal Assisted Gravity Drainage) Heater and Development Project work 
continues, in 2013, and is aimed at unlocking the significant bitumen 
potential of the Dover West Carbonates. 
"The development of Athabasca's substantial Thermal Oil assets continues on 
time and on budget," says Bryan Gould, president. "Our teams are working 
diligently to add value to these properties, and we're scheduled to be on 
stream, at Hangingstone, in late 2014." 


              Athabasca Oil Corporation
                  2013 Capital Budget
                                        

  Project/Activity (million CAD)        
         

  Thermal Oil Division               502

  Hangingstone                       456

  Dover West                          42

  Other                                4
                                        

  Light Oil Division                 236

  Development Drilling               137

  Exploration                         15

  Facilities & Infrastucture          63

  Other                               21
                                        

  Corporate Assets                    29

  Dover OpCo (40% share)              31
                                        

  Total                              798

Conference Call and Webcast, December 17, 2012 7:30 am Mountain Time (9:30 am 
Eastern Time)

CALGARY - Athabasca Oil Corporation (TSX: ATH) will issue its 2013 capital 
budget and production guidance on Monday, December 17, 2012 before the market 
opens.

A conference call and webcast to discuss the 2013 capital budget will be held 
for the investment community and media on December 17, 2012 at 7:30 a.m. MT 
(9:30 a.m. ET). To participate, please dial 888-231-8191 (toll-free in North 
America) or 647-427-7450 approximately 15 minutes prior to the conference 
call. An archived recording of the call will be available from approximately 
1:00 pm ET on December 17 until midnight on December 31, 2012 by dialing 
855-859-2056 (toll-free in North America) or 416-849-0833 and entering 
conference password 79499422.

This conference call is being webcast and the webcast link is available via 
Athabasca's website (www.atha.com) or via the following URL: 
http://www.newswire.ca/en/webcast/detail/1085493/1182513

Please note this is a listen only audio webcast.

Athabasca is a dynamic, Canadian company focused on the development of oil 
resource plays in Alberta, Canada. The Company has accumulated an extensive, 
high quality resource base suitable for the extraction of thermal crude oil 
(bitumen) and light oil. Well financed and well endowed with quality assets 
and talented people, Athabasca is poised to become a major Canadian oil 
producer. It aspires to produce more than 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent 
per day by 2020, comprised of a 50/50 weighting of thermal and light oil. 
Athabasca is traded on the TSX under the symbol ATH. For further information 
please visit www.atha.com.

Reader Advisory:

This News Release contains forward-looking information that involves various 
risks, uncertainties and other factors. All information other than statements 
of historical fact is forward-looking information. The use of any of the words 
"will", "anticipate", "plan", "continue", "estimate", "expect", "may", 
"project", "should", "believe", "predict", "pursue" and "potential" and 
similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking information. The 
forward-looking information is not historical fact, but rather is based on the 
Company's current plans, objectives, goals, strategies, estimates, assumptions 
and projections about the Company's industry, business and future financial 
results. This information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and 
other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially 
from those anticipated in such forward-looking information. No assurance can 
be given that these expectations will prove to be correct and such 
forward-looking information included in this News Release should not be unduly 
relied upon. This information speaks only as of the date of this News Release. 
In particular, this News Release may contain forward-looking information 
pertaining to the following: expected timing of receipt of first significant 
revenues from the Company's assets; the Company's capital expenditure 
programs; the Company's drilling plans; the Company's plans for, and results 
of, exploration and development activities; the Company's estimated future 
commitments; business plans; development of the Company's Thermal Oil Division 
projects; timing of facilities construction and production; the use of in-situ 
recovery methods such as Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) and Thermal 
Assisted Gravity Drainage (TAGD) for production of recoverable bitumen, 
including the potential benefits of such methods; targeted 2012 and second 
quarter 2013 exit production rates and long term production goals; timing of 
submission of project regulatory applications; estimated timing of first 
steaming, selection of equipment manufactures and internal sanction, as 
applicable, of the Company's projects; estimated initial and full production 
of the Company's projects; Athabasca's plans with respect to the Light Oil 
Divisions assets and the expected benefits to be received by Athabasca from 
such assets; expectations regarding the Company's Light Oil Division 
development areas including anticipated production levels and timing of 
receipt of significant revenues and operating results therefrom.

With respect to forward-looking information contained in this News Release, 
assumptions have been made regarding, among other things: the Company's 
ability to obtain qualified staff and equipment in a timely and cost-efficient 
manner; the regulatory framework governing royalties, taxes and environmental 
matters in the jurisdictions in which the Company conducts and will conduct 
its business; the applicability of technologies for the recovery and 
production of the Company's reserves and resources; future capital 
expenditures to be made by the Company; future sources of funding for the 
Company's capital programs; the Company's future debt levels; geological and 
engineering estimates in respect of the Company's reserves and resources; the 
geography of the areas in which the Company is conducting exploration and 
development activities; the impact that the agreements relating to the 
PetroChina Transaction (the "PetroChina Transaction Agreements") will have on 
the Company, including on the Company's financial condition and results of 
operations; and the Company's ability to obtain financing on acceptable terms.

Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in this 
forward-looking information as a result of the risk factors set forth in the 
Company's most recent Annual Information Form filed on March 27, 2012 ("AIF") 
that is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com, including, but not limited to: 
fluctuations in market prices for crude oil, natural gas and bitumen blend; 
general economic, market and business conditions; dependence on Phoenix Energy 
Holdings Limited (" Phoenix") as the joint venture participant in the Dover 
oil sands projects; variations in foreign exchange and interest rates; factors 
affecting potential profitability; factors affecting funding, including the 
development of new business opportunities, the availability of financing, 
developments in technology, the priorities of the Company and of its current 
and future joint venture partners and general economic conditions; 
uncertainties inherent in estimating quantities of reserves and resources; 
uncertainties inherent in SAGD and TAGD; the potential impact of the exercise 
of the Dover put/call options on the Company; failure to meet the conditions 
precedent to the exercise by the Company of the Dover put option; failure to 
receive regulatory approval for the Dover, Hangingstone, Dover West Sands or 
other oil sands projects when anticipated or at all; failure to obtain 
necessary regulatory approvals for completion of the Dover put/call option 
transaction, if any; failure to meet development schedules and potential cost 
overruns; increases in operating costs making projects uneconomic; the effect 
of diluent and natural gas supply constraints and increases in the costs 
thereof; gas over bitumen issues affecting operational results; the potential 
for adverse consequences in the event that the Company defaults under certain 
of the PetroChina Transaction Agreements; defaults under certain debt 
agreements, environmental risks and hazards and the cost of compliance with 
environmental regulations; failure to obtain or retain key personnel; the 
substantial capital requirements of the Company's projects; the need to obtain 
regulatory approvals and maintain compliance with regulatory requirements; 
changes to royalty regimes; political risks; failure to accurately estimate 
abandonment and reclamation costs; risks inherent in the Company's operations, 
including those related to exploration, development and production of oil 
sands, crude oil and natural gas reserves and resources, including the 
production of oil sands reserves and resources using SAGD and TAGD and the 
production of crude oil and natural gas using multi-stage fracture and other 
stimulation technologies; the potential for management estimates and 
assumptions to be inaccurate; reliance on third party infrastructure for 
project facilities; failure by counterparties (including without limitation 
Phoenix) to comply with contractual arrangements between the Company and 
such counterparties; the potential lack of available drilling equipment and 
limitations on access to the Company's assets; Aboriginal claims; seasonality; 
hedging risks; insurance risks; claims made in respect of the Company's 
operations, properties or assets; the potential for adverse consequences as a 
result of the change of control provisions in the PetroChina Transaction 
Agreements and in certain debt agreements; competition for, among other 
things, capital, the acquisition of reserves and resources, export pipeline 
capacity and skilled personnel; the failure of the Company or the holder of 
certain licenses or leases to meet specific requirements of such licenses or 
leases; risk of reassessments of the Company's tax filings by taxation 
authorities; risks arising from future acquisition and joint venture 
activities; volatility in the market price of the common shares; and the 
effect that the issuance of additional securities by the Company could have on 
the market price of the common shares. The forward-looking statements 
included in this News Release are expressly qualified by this cautionary 
statement. Athabasca does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or 
revise any forward-looking statements except as required by applicable 
securities laws.

Oil and Gas Information:
"BOEs" may be misleading, particularly if used in isolation. A BOE 
conversion ratio of six thousand cubic feet of natural gas to one barrel of 
oil equivalent (6 Mcf: 1 bbl) is based on an energy equivalency conversion 
method primarily applicable at the burner tip and does not represent a value 
equivalency at the wellhead.

Media Heather Douglas Vice President, Communications & External Affairs (403) 
532-7408 hdouglas@atha.com

Financial Community Andre De Leebeeck Vice President, Investor Relations (403) 
817-8048 adeleebeeck@atha.com

Tracy Robinson Manager, Investor Relations (403) 532-7446 trobinson@atha.com

SOURCE: Athabasca Oil Corporation

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CO: Athabasca Oil Corporation
ST: Alberta
NI: OIL CONF 

-0- Dec/17/2012 11:00 GMT


 
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