Third quarter production was approximately 45,100 barrels of oil equivalent per day (“boepd”) (78% light oil and liquids weighted), based on field estimates, a 17% increase over third quarter 2012. The Cardium business unit produced approximately 20,600 boepd and the Bakken business unit produced approximately 16,000 boepd, with the remainder coming from the Saskatchewan Conventional and AB/BC business units. Our gas weighting increased slightly during the third quarter, primarily due to increased associated (solution) gas from recently added Cardium light oil production.
As expected, our third quarter average production rate of 45,100 boepd was relatively flat to the second quarter of 2013. Our third quarter 2013 volume does not include over 1,000 boepd (70% oil) of Cardium production in the central Alberta and west Pembina areas which has been restricted due to constraints on existing gas conservation and processing infrastructure. Additional capacity is being added in the area, and we expect these current restrictions to be alleviated in the first half of 2014.
In the Cardium business unit, we drilled 13 wells and placed 8 wells on production in the quarter. Year-to-date, we have drilled 38 wells and brought 42 wells on production, with 10 wells waiting to be placed on production at the end of the third quarter. We plan to drill 10 more wells in the Cardium by the end of the year.
In southeast Saskatchewan, we drilled 11 wells in the third quarter and placed 8 wells on production, bringing our year-to-date totals to 36 wells drilled and 32 wells on production. At the end of the third quarter, we had 8 wells waiting to be placed on production. We plan to drill another 14 wells in southeast Saskatchewan by year end. We also resumed our southeast Saskatchewan optimization program in the third quarter, which was first implemented in 2012 and is materially mitigating our Bakken base well declines.
We continue to be active in our new resource play area, particularly in the Swan Hills region, where we brought an additional 4 wells on production during the quarter. We are currently producing approximately 1,480 boepd (97% light oil and liquids weighted) in the Swan Hills area. So far this year, we have drilled 9 wells on our new plays and had 1 well waiting to be placed on production at the end of the quarter, with an additional 3 wells planned to be drilled in the fourth quarter.
As our resource play assets mature and our base decline rates gradually reduce, we continue to work towards levelling out our production profile and increasing our annual average production levels on a year over year basis. As we enter the fourth quarter, we are on target to exceed the lower end of our forecasted 8% to 12% annual average production growth (46,000 to 48,000 boepd) and we continue to target exit production in excess of 47,000 boepd. By addressing facility challenges and executing the remaining components of our 2013 capital program, we believe these achievements will be met within our capital budget of $700 to $725 million.
We are currently finalizing our operational and financial plans for next year and remain committed to improving our sustainability ratio (cash outflows compared to cash inflows), lowering our debt to cash flow ratio and improving our liquidity through the many options available to us, which include, but are not limited to, modulating capital expenditures, selling assets, terming-out debt, altering our dividend program or issuing equity. Over the long-term, we continue to target a sustainability ratio of 100% and a debt to cash flow ratio of 2.0 or less. We plan to announce further details with respect to these options when we release our 2014 guidance later in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Lightstream Resources Ltd. is an oil and gas exploration and production company combining light oil Bakken and Cardium resource plays with conventional light oil assets, delivering industry leading operating netbacks, strong cash flows and production growth. Lightstream is applying leading edge technology to a multi-year inventory of Bakken and Cardium light oil development locations, along with a significant inventory of opportunities in the Horn River and Montney gas resource plays in northeast BC. Our strategy is to deliver accretive production and reserves growth, along with an attractive dividend yield.
Forward Looking Statements. Certain information provided in this press release constitutes forward-looking statements. Specifically, this press release contains forward-looking statements relating to financial results, results from operations, future production rates, proposed exploration and development activities (including the number of wells to be drilled, completed and put on production), our drilling prospect inventory, projected capital expenditures, the timing of certain projects and future dividend payments. The forward-looking statements are based on certain key expectations and assumptions, including expectations and assumptions concerning the success of future drilling, completion, recompletion and development activities, the performance of new and existing wells, prevailing commodity prices and economic conditions, the availability and cost of labour and services, timing of pipeline and facilities construction, access to third party facilities and weather and access to drilling locations. Although we believe that the expectations and assumptions on which the forward-looking statements are based are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on the forward-looking statements because we can give no assurance that they will prove to be correct. Since forward-looking statements address future events and conditions, by their very nature they involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those currently anticipated due to a number of factors and risks. These include, but are not limited to, risks associated with the oil and gas industry in general (e.g., operational risks in development, exploration and production; delays or changes in plans with respect to exploration or development projects or capital expenditures; the uncertainty of reserve estimates; the uncertainty of estimates and projections relating to production, costs and expenses, reliance on industry partners, availability of equipment and personnel, uncertainty surrounding timing for drilling and completion activities resulting from weather and other factors, changes in applicable regulatory regimes and health, safety and environmental risks), commodity price and exchange rate fluctuations and general economic conditions. Certain of these risks are set out in more detail in our Annual Information Form which has been filed on SEDAR and can be accessed at www.sedar.com. Except as may be required by applicable securities laws, Lightstream assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements made herein or otherwise, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
BOEs. Natural gas volumes have been converted to barrels of oil equivalent (“boe”). Six thousand cubic feet (“Mcf”) of natural gas is equal to one barrel of oil equivalent based on an energy equivalency conversion method primarily attributable at the burner tip and does not represent a value equivalency at the wellhead. Boes may be misleading, especially if used in isolation.
Well Counts. All references to well counts are on a net basis.
John D. Wright
President and Chief Executive Officer
Lightstream Resources Ltd.
Peter D. Scott
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Lightstream Resources Ltd.
William A. Kanters
Vice President, Capital Markets