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June 23 (Reuters) - Independent oil and gas explorer Goodrich Petroleum Corp GDP.N said it has agreed with a private company to acquire a 50 percent non-operated interest in 5,800 gross acres in the hot Haynesville shale play in Louisiana.
Advances in drilling and high oil and natural gas prices have triggered a frenzy of exploration activity among energy companies in "unconventional" fields like the Haynesville, where oil and natural gas are locked in substances like shale that were once considered too costly for drilling.
Goodrich said it will pay about $3.3 million to buy a 50 percent non-operated interest in 5,800 gross acres, 2,900 net to the company, in the Central Pine Island field, adjacent to its Longwood field in Caddo Parish, Louisiana.
Earlier this month, Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK.N) agreed to pay $178 million to buy into Goodrich's property in the Haynesville shale.
With the completion of this transaction and the previously announced joint venture with Chesapeake Energy, Goodrich has a total of about 22,000 net acres in north Louisiana, the company said.
Goodrich also raised its second quarter production forecast to an 8 to 11 percent sequential growth rate over the first quarter, up from its prior outlook of 5 to 9 percent sequential growth.
The company now expects net daily production volumes for the second quarter to average between 62,500 and 64,000 Mcfe.
Citing anticipated increased drilling activity, primarily driven by its Haynesville Shale program, the company also announced an increase in its preliminary capital expenditure budget for 2008 to $350 million, up from $275 million.
Shares of Goodrich are up 172 percent so far this year. They closed at $61.53 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Hezron Selvi in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy)