Conoco exporting shale drilling know-how to other places

HOUSTON, April 10 Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:03pm EDT

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HOUSTON, April 10 (Reuters) - ConocoPhillips, the largest independent oil company, is using the knowledge it gained drilling in Texas' Eagle Ford rocks to fuel growth in less-developed shale formations in North American and even Poland.

"The value associated with that learning curve has been pretty tremendous," Conoco Chief Executive Ryan Lance told the company's annual analyst meeting.

Conoco and many other companies are spending ever higher amounts to coax more profitable and lower-risk crude oil and natural gas liquids from shale and other rocks in North America.

This year, Houston-based Conoco said about one-third of its $16.7 billion budget will be spent on so-called unconventional resources in the Eagle Ford and Bakken shales with the aim of raising that output more than 20 percent by 2017, the Houston company told its annual analyst meeting.

Now, Conoco is taking the success it has seen drilling in the Eagle Ford and exporting that to horizontal wells in Texas' Permian Basin, Canada, Colorado and Poland.

"We were one of the first people to produce shales gas in Poland," said Matt Fox, Conoco's head of exploration and production. Of a planned well in Poland he said, "We're going to drill it like an Eagle Ford well, we're going to frack it like an Eagle Ford well."

Knowledge gained drilling in the Eagle Ford and Bakken is enabling Conoco to increase efficiencies, lower costs and raise the amount of oil and gas it expects to produce over the lifetime of a well in other places, it said.

Conoco left its major targets unchanged, saying it still sees overall production and margin growth of 3 percent to 5 percent through 2017.

This year, Conoco sees production of 1.51 to 1.55 million barrels oil equivalent per day (boepd), with a year-end exit rate of 1.6 million boepd.

Shares of Conoco fell $1.38 to $70.16, down 1.9 percent. (Reporting by Anna Driver; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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