Tickers in this Article: BEXP, ROSE, LINE, GMXR
Brigham Exploration Company (Nasdaq:BEXP) announced a huge increase in capital spending for 2011 as it moves to accelerate the development of the Bakken formation on its properties in the Williston Basin. The company also announced its second successful well at its project area in Montana.

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2011 Capital Expenditures
Brigham Exploration Company plans to spend $692.7 million in 2011, a 63% increase over the $425.5 million spent in 2010. The company hopes that this will be enough to cover approximately 68 net wells, with the vast majority targeting the Bakken and Three Forks formations in the Williston Basin.

This level of spending will boost production in 2011 to between 14,000 and 16,000 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) per day, with 82% of this production composed of oil. In 2010, Brigham Exploration reported average daily production of 8,267 BOE per day.

Rig Count
Brigham Exploration Company plans to achieve this production growth through the addition of a new rig every four months through 2012. The company is currently operating seven rigs and will add an eighth in May 2011. Brigham Exploration Company will reach its goal of 12 rigs by September 2012.

Montana Bakken
Most of the development of the Bakken formation has been centered in North Dakota, with the industry drilling hundreds of successful wells here. Development is also starting to move forward in many areas in Montana as the extent of the formation is delineated further.

Brigham Exploration Company reported the company's second completed well in Montana, with an initial production rate above 1,000 BOE per day. The company also has three other Montana wells in various stages of completion.

Other operators in Montana include Rosetta Resources (Nasdaq:ROSE), which is developing acreage in the southern Alberta Basin. The company has 300,000 net acres under lease and plans five vertical delineation wells in the first half of 2011.

One new entrant to the Bakken is GMX Resources (Nasdaq:GMXR), which recently announced two purchases giving the company approximately 26,000 net acres spread across Montana and North Dakota. The company hopes to get its drilling program started later in 2011.

Wolfberry Oil Play
Although most investor attention is focused on the Bakken part of the company's portfolio, the company also has some minor development planned for its properties in Texas that are prospective for the Wolfberry formation. Brigham Exploration Company plans to drill 2.4 net wells into the Wolfberry play during 2011.

The Wolfberry play is attracting interest from other exploration and production companies as well. Linn Energy (Nasdaq:LINE) just announced two separate purchases of properties for $238 million.

The Bottom Line
Brigham Exploration Company is dialing up its oil development in 2011, and has budgeted a large increase in capital spending to develop the Bakken formation on its properties in the Williston Basin. In the most optimistic scenario, this spending may nearly double its production over 2010. (For more, check out Playing The Oil Rally With Funds.)

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