Continental Resources expecting production gains

Company is one of the biggest players in North Dakota shale, where production actually declined.

By Daniel J. Graeber

OKLAHOMA CITY, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Though reporting both a net loss for the second quarter and declining output, U.S. shale player Continental Resources raised its forecast for production.

Continental said in emailed results for the second quarter that it took a net loss of $119 million, nearly double the loss reported one year ago. The company is one of the largest stakeholders in the Bakken shale oil reserve in North Dakota, where production was down 11 percent from the previous quarter. Total production for the company was lower than the first quarter by about 5 percent to around 219,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.


First quarter production, however, was in line with what the company expected and a 3 percent increase from fourth quarter 2015. In January, the company said its budget would be cash-flow neutral if oil was in the $37 per barrel range for the year. WTI traded around $40 per barrel early Thursday.

"We are currently cash flow positive and expect to remain so in the second half of the year, especially under our assumption that commodity prices will strengthen," Chief Financial Officer John Hart said.


In its second quarter report, the company said its production expenses were lower than it previously estimated by 11 percent thanks in part to lower costs at its operations in the Bakken oil basin and in shale reserve areas in Oklahoma, which accounted for about a quarter of its total production.

Based on that, the company said it expects to produce an average full-year production of around 215,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, an increase of 5,000 boe per day from its previous estimate.

Continental President and Chief Operating Officer Jack Stark said in a statement production expenses have decreased by around 35 percent since 2014, the year the slump in crude oil prices began.

"We believe the majority of these capital efficiencies are structural and sustainable," he said in a statement.

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