By Ernest Scheyder
Sept 10 Continental Resources Inc, which
produced the most oil and natural gas in North Dakota's Bakken
shale fields during the second quarter, expects 2014 production
across its vast portfolio to rise at least 26 percent.
The bullish outlook, announced on Tuesday, is part of the
company's five-year plan to triple oil production at its more
than 1.1 million acres of leases in North Dakota, as well as
Oklahoma's Woodford and Colorado's Niobrara shales.
Continental expects to spend $4.05 billion to reach the goal
in 2014, up from $3.6 billion this year. The Oklahoma City-based
company plans to spend the bulk of that budget in the Bakken,
where it helped spark oilfield development seven years ago and
remains the largest leaseholder.
"Achieving our 2014 goals will be an excellent year two in
our five-year plan to triple production and proved reserves,"
Harold Hamm, Continental's chief executive and largest
shareholder, said in a statement.
Shares of Continental closed 4.2 percent higher at $103.53.
Production likely will increase 26 to 32 percent, with
average daily production rising to a range of 170,000 to 180,000
barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), the company said.
Continental hopes to be producing 200,000 boe/d by the end
of 2014, up from a goal of 150,000 boe/d by the end of this
year. The company produced 135,700 boe/d in the second quarter
Roughly 70 percent of production should be oil, a strategy
many shale drillers are mimicking as prices for natural gas
sit near 10-year lows.
The company plans to complete 400 new wells next year, most
of which will be in the Bakken and Oklahoma reserves.
Continental expects to continue to ship about 70 percent of
its Bakken oil via rail, executives said on a conference call
Standard & Poor's upgraded Continental's bonds to investment
grade last month. The company has $4.44 billion in debt, roughly
a quarter of its market value.