Continental Resources betting on market rebound

CEO Hamm said he expects production to move higher alongside oil price recovery.

By Daniel J. Graeber

OKLAHOMA CITY, May 5 (UPI) -- U.S. shale oil player Continental Resources said it expected its production to recover during the second half of the year on the back of market improvements.

Harold Hamm, the CEO who steered his company squarely into the heart of the North Dakota oil boom, said new shale production was robust enough to raise expectations for the year without increasing spending.


"We are managing production volumes for higher oil and natural gas prices that we expect in second half 2016," he said in a statement.

Hamm said first quarter net production was around 230,800 barrels of equivalent per day, a 3 percent increase from fourth quarter 2015 and 12 percent higher year-on-year. Based on this, Hamm said the company expects production levels to be about 10,000 boe per day higher than initially expected for the year.

In the so-called SCOOP shale basin in Oklahoma, Continental said production was 30 percent higher year-on-year, while in the Bakken oil reserve in North Dakota, production was down 25 percent from first quarter 2015.

In Wyoming, the company sold off more than 130,000 acres of non-operated assets for $110 million and said it would use those funds to reduce its overall debt.


Continental sold oil at about 30 percent less than it did during the first quarter of 2015, a figure that's on par with year-on-year declines in the price of West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark price for oil.

In January, Continental said its budget would be cash-flow neutral if WTI is $37 per barrel on average for the year. WTI is currently about 20 percent higher than that.

The company reported a net loss of around $198 million for the period ending March 31.

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