By Ernest Scheyder
Feb 4 (Reuters) - Oasis Petroleum Inc, which drills for oil in North Dakota’s Bakken shale field, said on Tuesday it plans to increase spending significantly this year to ramp up production.
The goals reflect the small but fast-growing company’s desire to become the leader in the oil patch of North Dakota, the second-largest oil-producing state in the nation.
Unlike most of its peers, Oasis operates only in North Dakota. That makes its shares a pure-play bet on the future of the state’s oil industry.
Oasis expects to produce 46,000 to 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) this year, up from 33,904 boe/d in 2013.
To achieve that goal, Oasis plans to spend $1.43 billion this year, a 40 percent increase from the 2013 budget.
The company is becoming more efficient at drilling wells, reflecting an industry wide trend to put more wells on the same area of land and drill at different depths and directions.
For the year, Oasis expects to complete 205 Bakken wells, up from 136 last year.
Oasis said 93 percent of its wells were connected to natural gas collection equipment at the end of 2013, a step that should help curb flaring.
Remote well locations, combined with historically low natural gas prices and the extensive time needed to develop pipeline networks, have fueled the controversial practice of burning off natural gas released by oil wells.
While oil can be stored in tanks indefinitely after drilling, natural gas must immediately be piped to a processing facility. Roughly $100 million worth of natural gas is burned off each month in North Dakota.
Shares of Oasis rose 16 cents to $41.41 in Tuesday morning trading.