February 25, 2018, by Daniel King
Net production from the Bakken shale reservoir in North Dakota set an all-time high for the company in the fourth quarter, Continental Resources said.
Continental is one of the most active U.S. shale players, with its average of six rigs in the Bakken shale planned this year representing about 10 percent of the total active rigs in North Dakota, the No. 2 oil producer behind Texas.
Of its total proved reserves to year-end 2017, the Bakken accounted for 48 percent of Continental’s total. Fourth quarter net production in the North Dakota shale averaged 165,598 barrels of oil equivalent per day, up 58 percent from the same period in 2016 and an all-time high for the company. About 80 percent of the total output was in crude oil.
“Continental’s returns from the Bakken compete head-to-head with the best oil plays in the United States today,” President Jack Stark said in a statement.
In December, the last full month for which the state has data, North Dakota averaged 1.18 million barrels of oil per day and 95 percent of that came from the Bakken shale.
First quarter net production for Continental should be around 290,000 boe per day at the high end. Total net production during for 2017 averaged 242,637 boe per day.
In guidance outlined last week, Continental said it planned to spend about $2.3 billion on its operations this year with the goal of ending 2018 with a production rate between 305,000 and 315,000 boe per day.
The company said it would be cash neutral so long as the price for West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, was in the low- to mid-$40 per barrel range. WTI was trading at around $61 per barrel early Thursday.
A $5 per barrel change from the cash-neutral range would impact cash flow by at least $250 million. WTI is already about $5 per barrel below its peak for the year.