Bill Barrett Corp., one of the larger companies that drills for oil and gas in Weld County, posted first-quarter net income of $9.5 million compared with $19.1 million in the first quarter last year, the company said Thursday.

The Denver-based oil and gas producer's plans for this year include a working interest in 28 Niobrara wells in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, the company said in its earnings statement. It plans to add a second rig in the D.J. Basin this month.

Bill Barrett also said it began drilling on its acreage in the Chalk Bluffs in Northern Colorado during the first quarter. The company currently has 17,300 net undeveloped acres in the area. (There are no drilling leases in the Chalk Bluffs Natural Area, a 640-acre state park in Weld County.)

The company's oil and gas production totaled 28.2 billion cubic feet equivalent in the first quarter, up 21 percent from the same period last year, the company said. That included a 62-percent increase in oil production.

Bill Barrett's current D.J. Basin production amounts to 1,100 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The company said it has nearly doubled production in the area since the middle of 2011.

"I am particularly excited about our pace of growth in the Uinta and D.J. Basins, as well as results to date in Chalk Bluffs, where we plan to drill several Niobrara wells this year," CEO Fred Barrett said.