Oil and natural gas company Brigham Exploration Co (BEXP.O) said it commenced offering of 14 million common shares, mainly to boost its Williston Basin drilling program.

The company said the underwriters, including Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC and Jefferies & Co, will have a 30-day option to purchase up to 2.1 million additional shares.

Brigham plans to use the net proceeds to drill 24 net horizontal wells in its Williston Basin in 2010.

Assuming net proceeds of about $137 million from the offering, Brigham expects its initial 2010 exploration and development budget to be $175.8 million.

Brigham also said it plans to use a portion of the net proceeds to repay debt.

As of Sept. 30, the company has $110 million outstanding under its senior credit facility.

Shares of Brigham Exploration closed at $10.27 Friday on Nasdaq.