Abraxas said the rig will be ready to spud its first well in October 2011 in the North Fork area of McKenzie County, North Dakota, USwhere the company has 60 gross identified drilling locations.

Abraxas has selected its subsidiary Raven Drilling to own and operate the drilling rig.

Abraxas president and CEO Bob Watson said due to the severe shortage of equipment and services in the Williston Basin, the company felt it was prudent to secure its own drilling rig in order to get its operated wells drilled on a timely and cost-efficient basis.

"The multi-well pad drilling system should save a lot of capital costs as the rig walks from location to location which reduces the mobilization costs, in addition to other cost savings by using the same mud system for multiple wells," Watson said.

Abraxas is a crude oil and natural gas exploration and production company with operations across the Rocky Mountain, Mid-Continent, Permian Basin and onshore Gulf Coast regions of the US and in the province of Alberta, Canada.