Continental Resources Presents Monster Growth Plan

By Eric Fox | October 15, 2012 AAA

Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) unveiled an updated strategic plan that includes 30% to 35% production growth in 2013 and a long-term goal of tripling production and proved reserves by 2017. This growth will be accomplished through the aggressive development of the Bakken and Woodford plays.

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Long-Term Growth Plan
Continental Resources estimates that oil and gas production in 2012 will be 36 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE), using the midpoint of its growth guidance range. The company's growth plan involves increasing production to 108 million BOE, or 295,800 BOE per day by 2017.

Continental Resources reported an estimated 508 million BOE of proved reserves at the end of 2011, and the five-year plan sets a goal of 1.524 billion BOE of proved reserves by 2017. This growth will be generated from the development of oil and gas properties in the Bakken in North Dakota and Montana, and the Woodford Shale in Oklahoma.

SEE: Oil And Gas Industry Primer

Bakken
Continental Resources is a leader in developing the Bakken play in the Williston Basin and other areas and has approximately 972,000 net acres under lease. The company reported oil and gas production of 4.9 million BOE from the Bakken in the second quarter of 2012.

Continental Resources is conducting a pilot program to test tighter density drilling on its properties, including 320 and 160 acre spacing. If this program is successful and can be applied to the company's entire position, Continental Resources estimates that it may have 4.5 billion BOE of resource potential in the Bakken and Three Forks, assuming 160 acre spacing.

Woodford Shale
Continental Resources is also working on developing the Woodford Shale in Oklahoma and has approximately 316,000 net acres under lease. The company's original focus was on the Cana play, which contains a high proportion of natural gas liquids.

Continental Resources has now shifted some of its focus to properties in the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province, which contains a shale oil formation up to 400 feet thick. Management said that this new play compares favorably with the Bakken and Eagle Ford Shale. Continental Resources has approximately 171,000 net acres exposed to this formation and has drilled or participated in 35 wells to date.

SEE: How Shale Fracking May Hurt Your Investment

Other Woodford Operators
Other operators with exposure to the Woodford Shale include Newfield Exploration Company (NYSE:NFX) and PetroQuest Energy (NYSE:PQ).

Newfield Exploration Company has 135,000 net acres under lease and has a position in the South Cana area, which corresponds to the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province. The company is operating five rigs there.

PetroQuest Energy is involved in a joint venture to develop the Woodford and plans to drill between 25 and 30 wells in 2012.

Infrastructure Issues
Operators are developing onshore shale oil and other plays so quickly that the industry is unable to build the required infrastructure needed to process and transport the crude oil and natural gas to market. Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC) and a private company recently announced a planned truck-to-barge project in Ohio designed to handle growing production from the Utica Shale.

The project will include truck unloading capacity of 24,000 barrels of oil per day and a terminal that can load 50,000 barrels of oil per day onto barges on the Ohio River. Marathon Petroleum Corporation and its partner expect the facility to be operational in 2013.

The Bottom Line
Continental Resources is pushing forward with a new growth plan that will triple the size of the company by 2017. This growth plan is dependent on the rapid development of the Bakken and Woodford Shale plays.

At the time of writing, Eric Fox did not own any shares in any company mentioned in this article.

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