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Sanchez Energy to accelerate drilling program in Eagle Ford Shale

Sanchez Energy Corporation [NYSE: SN], a fast-growing independent oil and gas company with a 95,000 net acre position in the liquids-rich Eagle Ford shale play in South Texas, recently announced that it has closed the private placement of $150 million of its 4.875% Cumulative Perpetual Convertible Preferred Stock, Series A (which includes $25 million from the exercise of the initial purchasers' overallotment option). Net proceeds from the offering were approximately $144.6 million, including the exercised overallotment option. Net proceeds are being used to fund the company’s capital expenditures, with a focus on accelerating its drilling program across all of its operating areas in the Eagle Ford shale, and for general corporate purposes.

Additionally, Sanchez Energy anticipates closing shortly both a $250 million first lien revolving credit facility, with an initial borrowing base of $27.5 million, and a $250 million second lien term loan, with an initial commitment of $50 million, to provide further liquidity. The revolving credit facility is expected to have a term of three years, and the second lien term loan is expected to provide for a term of 42 months. There is no usage planned in 2012 under either tranche of the credit facilities.

Tony Sanchez, III, president and CEO, said, “Our recently closed $150 million convertible preferred offering, combined with our future cash flow from operations and modest debt from our anticipated credit facilities, provides the liquidity to continue executing and accelerating our drilling plans in 2012 and 2013.”

He continued: “With each of our three major project areas in the Eagle Ford trend materially de-risked, we have approximately 800 to 1,200 net identified potential drilling locations. Our production has grown more than 90% from 1,200 BOE/d at the end of June to over 2,300 BOE/d at the end of August, and as we begin more developmental-type drilling programs in our three areas, we reaffirm our expected 2012 production exit rate to be between 4,000 and 5,000 BOE/d.”

Operational highlights

Palmetto Area -- Gonzalez County:

The company's initial 2012 budget included drilling a total of 13 gross (6.5 net) wells with 9 gross (4.5 net) wells expected to be spud in the second half of 2012. The Company now anticipates to spud up to 12 gross (6.0 net) wells in the second half of 2012 for a total of up to 16 gross (8.0 net) wells spud in calendar 2012.

The Barnhart #14 (W.I. 50%) has been drilled and cased with a 7,176 foot lateral, and the Barnhart #15 (W.I. 50%), has been drilled and cased from the same pad location with a 7,424 foot lateral. These two wells are awaiting completion and are located adjacent to the Barnhart #5 and #6, our two best performing Palmetto wells to date. The same rig has started to drill the Barnhart A #1 well and is scheduled to spud up to an additional four wells by the end of 2012, with one well located in the northern portion of the Palmetto area and the remainder in the southern portion. A second rig has been added to the Palmetto area and has started drilling the Barnhart #18 well and is scheduled to spud up to an additional four wells on the company’s southern acreage by the end of 2012. In Palmetto, Sanchez has approximately 115 net identified potential drilling locations targeting approximately 35 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBOE) of net resource potential based on 80-acre well spacing. While the Palmetto area wells are currently planned on 80 acre well spacing, the company plans to test 60-acre well spacing and, potentially, 40-acre well spacing.

For reference, the Barnhart #5 had a 24-hour initial production rate of 1,467 BOE/d on a 14/64-inch choke and a 5,991 foot lateral with a 17-stage fracture stimulation. The Barnhart #6 had a 24-hour initial production rate of 1,420 BOE/d on a 14/64-inch choke and a 5,998 foot lateral with an 18-stage fracture stimulation. The company is now targeting at least 7,000 foot laterals, which would accommodate for a higher number of potential frac stages.

Marquis Area -- Fayette and Lavaca Counties:

Sanchez’s initial plan was to drill a total of six gross and net horizontal wells in its Marquis area in 2012. The company now expects to be able to spud three additional wells this year for a total of nine gross and net horizontal wells in 2012. A rig is expected to remain and drill continuously in the Prost area of Marquis, where the company estimates it has up to 32 additional development locations, while 3-D seismic is acquired and interpreted during the first half of 2013. Central production and gas gathering lines are also planned to be constructed to facilitate an expanded development program.

The Sante A #1H (W.I. 100%), the company’s third operated horizontal well in the Marquis area, has been drilled and cased with a 6,020 foot lateral and is undergoing completion. The rig that drilled the Sante A #1H has moved back to the Prost area and has started drilling the Prost B #1H. An additional five wells are expected to be spud by the end of 2012.

The Prost #1H had a 24-hour initial production rate of 1,120 BOE/d on a 22/64-inch choke and had a 5,537 foot lateral with a 14-stage fracture stimulation. The Prost #2H had a 24-hour initial production rate of 1,369 BOE/d on a 22/64-inch choke and a 5,500 foot lateral with a 17-stage fracture stimulation. The company is now drilling new wells with a targeted 6,500 – 7,500 foot lateral, which are expected to accommodate substantially more frac stages.

With the Prost #1H and #2H substantially de-risking the approximately 51,000 net acres in its core Fayette and Lavaca County areas of Marquis, the company estimates it has 420 to 630 net identified potential drilling locations with a net resource potential of 140 to 210 MMBOE using a range of 120- to 80-acre well spacing.

Maverick Area -- Zavala and Frio Counties:

As the Maverick area is now largely de-risked, Sanchez expects to drill horizontal wells continuously throughout 2013 where the company has 235 to 350 net identified potential drilling locations with 60 to 90 MMBOE of net resource potential using a range of 120- to 80-acre well spacing.

The Maverick area's initial 2012 drilling plan for five gross and net wells has been completed, and the drilled wells have demonstrated continuously improving results due to progressive changes in completion practices and tighter well spacing. After reviewing well results from the Mark & Sandra #2H (W.I. 100%), which had a 24-hour initial production rate of 931 BOE/d (~97% oil), and after reviewing the previous vertical well results, the company plans to drill three additional horizontal offset wells to the Mark & Sandra #2H and one to two additional vertical wells for a total of up to 10 gross and net wells in 2012.

Sanchez expects that the drilling plan for the remainder of 2012 and 2013 will entail sequentially tighter horizontal well spacing.

Houston-based Sanchez Energy Corporation is a growth-oriented independent exploration and production company currently focused on the prolific Eagle Ford Shale trend of South Texas. The company has 95,000 net acres in the volatile oil, black oil, and gas condensate windows of the Eagle Ford.

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