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Domestic energy explorer Comstock Resources Inc. (CRK - Analyst Report) announced that its total proven oil and gas reserves for 2012 declined by 45.7% to 711.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent (Bcfe) against total proven reserves of 1,311.2 Bcfe for 2011.

Comstock’s proven oil reserves for 2012 increased by 22.2% to 39.2 million barrels and now comprise 33% of the total reserves. However, the proven reserves of natural gas declined by 57.4% year over year in 2012, to 476.6 billion cubic feet (Bcf).  

The upside in oil reserves stemmed from Comstock’s successful Eagle Ford shale and Wolfbone drilling programs. Apart from these two regions, Comstock’s major area of operation will be concentrated on its Wolfcamp shale oil project.

Comstock produced 96.3 Bcfe of oil and gas in 2012, of which nearly 86% was natural gas. Management expects oil volumes to go up by 40–60% in 2013 as compared to 2012.     

Last year, Comstock spent roughly $489.9 million for its drilling operations and has estimated $420.0 million for similar expenditures in 2013.

Frisco, Texas-based Comstock is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company engaged in the acquisition, exploration, and development of oil and gas properties. The company’s operations are concentrated primarily in two regions in the U.S.: East Texas/North Louisiana and South Texas.

Comstock’s large acreage position in the prolific Haynesville/Bossier Shale play provides a multi-year inventory of low-risk development drilling opportunities. Supplemented with a low-cost structure, the company remains well positioned to maintain a strong growth trajectory in the near-to-medium term.  

Comstock currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), implying that it is expected to perform in line with the broader U.S. equity market over the next one to three months.  

However, certain other U.S. exploration and production firms like Breitburn Energy Partners L.P. (BBEP - Snapshot Report), Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (COG - Analyst Report) and Memorial Production Partners L.P. (MEMP - Snapshot Report) are expected to significantly outperform the equity market in the next one to three months. All the three stocks are currently holding Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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