CALGARY, Alberta, June 26, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Baytex Energy Corp. (“Baytex”) (TSX:BTE) (NYSE:BTE) is pleased to provide an update on our operational progress during the second quarter of 2017 in accordance with our business plan.
Based on field estimates for June, our average production during Q2/2017 is estimated at 72,500 boe/d representing a 5% increase over Q1/2017. We estimate our production in the first half of this year to be 70,900 boe/d. During the second quarter, exploration and development capital expenditures are estimated at $78 million, bringing the aggregate spending in the first half of 2017 to about $174 million.
Production from our Eagle Ford area properties during Q2/2017 is estimated at 38,500 boe/d, an increase of 7% over Q1/2017. During the second quarter we averaged 4-5 drilling rigs and 1-2 completion crews on our lands and expect to bring approximately 35 gross (8 net) wells on production. We continue to see strong well performance driven by enhanced completions in the oil window of our acreage with the cost to drill, complete, equip and tie-in a well of US$4.6‑4.9 million.
In Canada, Q2/2017 production is estimated at 34,000 boe/d, an increase of 2% over Q1/2017. We continued to advance our operated drilling program, including the drilling of two multi-lateral wells at Peace River with initial 30-day performance ranking among the top oil wells drilled in Alberta during this period. Our Seal 7-16-82-18W5 well, comprised of 13 laterals for a total of 19,276 metres drilled, delivered a 30-day initial production rate of 614 bbl/d. Our Seal 13-28-83-19W5 well, comprised of 14 laterals for a total of 16,290 metres drilled, delivered a 30-day initial production rate of 489 bbl/d.
Notwithstanding the excellent production results achieved in the first half of the year, we have elected to maintain our 2017 production guidance at 68,000 to 70,000 boe/d due to the prevailing volatility in commodity prices. Similarly, we are maintaining our capital budget guidance at $325 to $350 million. We will continue to employ a flexible approach to prudently manage our capital program as we target capital expenditures at a level that approximates our funds from operations.
We plan to release our Q2/2017 operating and financial results before market open on August 1, 2017.
For the second half of 2017, we have entered into hedges on approximately 48% of our net WTI exposure with 9% fixed at US$54.46/bbl and 39% hedged utilizing a 3-way option structure that provides us with downside price protection at US$47.17/bbl and upside participation to US$58.60/bbl. We have also entered into hedges on approximately 43% of our net WCS differential exposure at a price differential to WTI of US$13.88/bbl and 60% of our net natural gas exposure through a combination of AECO swaps at C$3.00/mcf and NYMEX swaps at US$2.98/mmbtu.
Our net debt totaled approximately $1.9 billion at May 31, 2017. We continue to maintain strong financial liquidity as our US$575 million revolving credit facilities are approximately one-third drawn and our first meaningful long-term note maturity is not until 2021.
Our revolving credit facilities, which currently mature in June 2019, are covenant-based and do not require annual or semi-annual reviews. We are well within our financial covenants on these facilities as our Senior Secured Debt to Bank EBITDA ratio as at March 31, 2017 was 0.7:1.0, compared to a maximum permitted ratio of 5.0:1.0, and our interest coverage ratio was 4.0:1.0, compared to a minimum required ratio of 1.25:1.00.