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WPX Energy president and CEO Rick Muncrief. Image courtesy of WPX Energy/YouTube.

WPX Energy said Thursday that it will add two rigs in the Williston Basin formation this year, becoming the first company this year to approve more rigs in the play.

The Oklahoma-based company said it will boost activity in the Williston Basin, home of the Bakken shale play, during the second half of 2015 by resuming completions and increasing its rig count from one to three before year-end.

“The decision follows significant process improvements, structural changes to lower costs, successful discussions with key vendors, a technical analysis of WPX’s well performance that led to higher estimated ultimate recoveries (EURs) and favorable results from larger stimulations,” the company said.

WPX said it has been able to cut drilling and completion costs in the basin by more than 30 percent from last year, with costs in the basin now approaching $8 million per well with 6 million pound completions.

The company added that it is now recognizing a blended type curve of about 750,000 barrels of oil equivalent  for its wells in the Middle Bakken and Three Forks formations, up 25 percent per well from previous estimates of 600,000 boe.

“This helps set us up for 20 percent oil volume growth in 2016. We’re realizing the value we have on this acreage to a fuller extent through technical excellence, improving the way we develop the asset, and looking at the operations through a new lens,” WPX president and chief executive officer Rick Muncrief said.

WPX has more than 85,000 net acres in the core of the Williston Basin and reported proved reserves of 119 million barrels of oil equivalent for its Williston operations at the end of 2014.

The company currently has an inventory of 14 Williston wells awaiting completion.

Work on the wells is scheduled to resume in August, starting with a four-well pad, WPX said.

WPX currently has one rig deployed on its Williston acreage.

The company plans to go with a second rig in August and a third in November.