Noble Energy's presence in the Marcellus Shale began in 2011 by virtue of a joint venture (JV) agreement with CONSOL Energy. The Marcellus Shale is recognized among the lowest cost domestic shale plays, and it is ideally located near major demand markets in the northeast U.S. Noble Energy and CONSOL Energy have similar approaches to development, and the JV has significant flexibility to adjust development plans as the partners deem appropriate.
During 2013, the JV increased its position in the Marcellus Shale to over 700,000 gross acres following two strategic bolt-on acquisitions. While CONSOL operates rigs in the dry gas portion of Marcellus, we operate rigs in the wet gas areas where our activities continue to grow. We are leveraging our knowledge and experience of liquids-rich development in the DJ Basin to develop our holdings in the Marcellus Shale. We are focused on growing our production, targeting 175 wells to be drilled in 2014, an increase of nearly 50 percent from 2013. Our Marcellus position is planned to reach net production of nearly 1 Bcfe/d in 2018.
We are implementing an Integrated Development Plan approach in the Marcellus, similar to the DJ Basin. Our activities are resulting in a significant reduction in well costs, enhanced well performance and an increased number of extended reach laterals. During 2014, we are testing significant resource upside through well downspacing, enhanced completion design and drilling of the Burkett reservoir.