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Ute Energy Signs Development Contract for 21,000 Acres

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Ute Energy LLC will explore, develop and market oil and gas from 21,000 acres on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in northeastern Utah under a new agreement, the company announced.

The energy company, a joint venture between the Ute Indian Tribe and Quantum Energy Partners, has also acquired 4,500 acres of non-tribal lands in Randlett, adjacent to the successful Monument Butte field, and plans to work in oil zones in the Green River and Wasatch formations, the company said in a Jan. 18 statement.

Ute Energy has agreed to drill a minimum of five test wells in 2011 and five test wells each subsequent year within the prospect boundaries, the company said. It will drill 54 wells total this year.

The agreement is the latest for Ute Energy LLC, which was formed in May 2005 by the Ute to capitalize on the tribe’s mineral-exploration rights and explore the potential of the Uinta Basin. It already produces 3,000 barrels per day and holds the lease on 180,000 acres.

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President and chief executive officer Joe Jaggers called the deal a major step forward.

“The Randlett [exploration and development agreement] marks a significant milestone in the progress of Ute Energy,” he said in the company’s statement. “We are thankful for the support we have enjoyed from the tribe and the business committee in reaching this important point. We believe that Randlett has significant long-term upside potential, given its proximity to prolific proven Wasatch and Green River production in Monument Butte.”

Tribal representatives said they hope developing the reservation’s resources will enhance the Utes’ economic health and help build a sustainable future.

“On behalf of the business committee we are proud to support the growth of the tribe’s company Ute Energy,” said Richard Jenks Jr., chairman of the Ute Tribe Business Committee. “We believe Ute Energy will position the tribe to realize the vision of taking a more active role in the development of the tribe’s resources, which will provide long term benefits to the tribe.”