Brigham Exploration Company (Nasdaq:BEXP) reported rapid production growth in the third quarter of 2010, as it continued to benefit from its early investment in the Williston Basin. The company also solidified its place as one of the leaders in the Bakken, one of the hottest oil and gas plays in North America.


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Q3 Summary
Brigham Exploration Company reported average daily production of 8,509 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) during the third quarter of 2010. This represented production growth of 64% year over year, and 10% sequentially.

Another company with rapid production growth is Petrohawk Energy (NYSE:HK), which turned in 34% year over year production growth in the most recent quarter.

Seventy five percent of Brigham Exploration Company's production was crude oil in the most recent quarter, compared to only 50% in the third quarter of 2009. This percentage should continue to move higher as the company's investments are being allocated mostly to oily plays in the United States.

Brigham Exploration Company also forecasts that this strong production growth would continue for the balance of the year. The company expects average daily production for the fourth quarter of 2010 to be in a range from 10,200 to 10,800 BOE per day.

Williston Basin
Brigham Exploration Company is putting most of its exploration and development capital into the Williston Basin, where the company is developing the Bakken and Three Forks formations in North Dakota and Montana. Brigham Exploration Company is operating six rigs in three separate project areas, and will move up to eight rigs by May 2011.

Brigham Exploration Company has allocated $466.1 million in exploration and development capital in 2010, which will cover drilling nearly 45 wells in the Williston Basin and five wells in other areas the company is developing.

This investment continues to pay off for the company as demonstrated by three recent wells drilled and completed to the Bakken formation. Brigham Exploration Company reported that the wells had initial production rates ranging from 2,417 to 5,061 BOE per day.

Other Companies
The Williston Basin has become ground zero in North America for the oil and liquids frenzy currently gripping the exploration and production industry. Another company active in this basin is Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR), which has approximately 865,000 net acres under lease that are prospective for the Bakken and Three Forks formations in North Dakota and Montana. Continental Resources reported average daily production of 20,160 BOE per day from its Bakken wells in the third quarter of 2010.

Oasis Petroleum (NYSE:OAS) is also developing the Bakken and Three Forks formation on its 292,000 net acres under lease in the Williston Basin. The company estimates that it has just over 1,000 net locations to drill on its properties.

Bottom Line
Brigham Exploration Company continued its top-tier production growth in the third quarter of 2010, as the company reaped the benefit of its early move into the Williston Basin. (For related reading, take a look at How Does Crude Oil Affect gas Prices?)

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