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Bakken Oil Thrusts Continental Resources' 3Q2018 Production, Income Higher

Continental Resources Inc. reported soaring production and income for 3Q2018, due in large part to solid performance out of the Oklahoma City-based independent's wells in the Bakken Shale.

Bakken production hit a quarterly record of 167.6 boe/d in 3Q2018, a 23% increase compared with 136,851 boe/d in 3Q2017. During 3Q2018 Continental completed 42 gross (26 net) operated wells in the Bakken flowing at an average initial 24-hour rate of 2,013 boe/d, with two of the wells ranked in the company's top-10 30-day rate Bakken wells.

Natural gas production for 3Q2018 was 793.8 MMcf/d, compared with 613.1 MMcf/d in 3Q2017.

Total production from the quarter averaged 296,900 boe/d, up from 242,788 boe/d in the year-ago period and beating previously announced guidance. And the SpringBoard effort, a multi-year oil development program launched earlier this year in the SCOOP, aka the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province, continues to move forward.

"With up to 70 of our forecasted 2018 Bakken wells and up to 18 SpringBoard wells scheduled to be completed by year's end, Continental anticipates a strong wave of oil-weighted production growth as we approach year-end," said CEO Harold Hamm.

Strong prices for oil and natural gas in 3Q2018 validated management's "decisions to remain unhedged with our crude oil and to curtail our natural gas production in the second quarter until the market recovered," Hamm said during a conference call with analysts Tuesday.

Continental has eight rigs drilling in the Bakken, two more than in the previous quarter.

"The performance and returns from the Bakken have been exceptional," said President Jack Stark. "Our entire 2017 Bakken program, which included 133 operated wells, paid out by the end of the third quarter of 2018."

In the Midcontinent, the company saw production in the SCOOP increase to 63,270 boe/d in 3Q2018 from 57,283 boe/d in 3Q2017. Production also increased in the STACK, aka the Sooner Trend of the Anadarko Basin, mostly in Canadian and Kingfisher counties, to 56,129 boe/d, compared with 35,619 in 3Q2017.

In August Continental raised its production guidance and increased capital expenditures for the year to $2.7 billion as it planned to deploy more rigs in the Bakken Shale and a multi-year development program targeting Oklahoma's myriad stacked reservoirs.

Continental reported net income of $314.2 million (84 cents/share) in 3Q2018, compared with $10.6 million (3 cents) in the year-ago quarter. Total revenues grew 76% year/year to $1.28 billion.

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