Mixed production figures for Continental Resources

U.S. shale oil and gas company said gains expected this year, through some metrics lower than first quarter 2016.

By Daniel J. Graeber

May 4 (UPI) -- U.S. shale oil and gas player Continental Resources reported lower year-on-year production figures, but said gains in output were expected for the rest of 2017.

Continental is a lead operator in shale basins in North Dakota and Oklahoma, among the top oil producers outside of Texas. The company said first-quarter net production of 213,744 barrels of oil equivalent per day, about half of which was oil, was about 2 percent higher than the previous quarter.


Oil as a percentage of total production is expected to increase from 56 percent of its portfolio to 60 percent by the end of the year. Total 2017 production should be in the range of 220,000 barrels of oil equivalent and 225,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

The company's president, Jack Stark, said drilling performance metrics have improved by up to 16 percent when comparing the first quarter to full-year 2016, notably in the Bakken shale basin in North Dakota and Montana.

"Our optimized completions are another game changer for the Bakken," he said in a statement. "This technology is delivering record 30-day production rates and almost doubling the rates of return expected from our previous economic models."


The state government in North Dakota reported total oil production of 1.03 million barrels per day in February, the last full month for which it has data. That's up 5 percent from January, but below the all-time high of 1.2 million bpd posted in December 2014.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission said in an April update that energy companies working in the state are shifting toward incremental increases in exploration and production activity. A separate report from S&P Global Platts said total U.S. rig counts, a reflection of exploration and production activity, were up 8 percent from March and 107 percent year-on-year.

Elsewhere, in the SCOOP shale basin in Oklahoma, Continental said first-quarter production was moderately lower when compared with year-on-year figures and with the fourth quarter. In March, the state government in Oklahoma reported tax collections from oil and gas production last year were more than 10 percent off the previous year.

Total year-on-year production for the company was down 7 percent.

In its April report, the NDIC said operators were committed to deploying more rigs so long as the price for West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, was between $50 and $60 per barrel. WTI in early Thursday trading was about $47.50 per barrel.


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