Continental Resources Inc. has signed separate agreements to buy producing and undeveloped properties in the Bakken Shale for $650 million, and to sell land and assets in its east region for $125 million.
Oklahoma City-based Continental, already the largest leaseholder in the Bakken, said it plans to purchase from an undisclosed seller 120,000 net acres of leasehold primarily in Divide and Williams counties, ND. Current production from the property is about 6,500 boe/d.
Continental said it owns 984,000 net acres in the Bakken as of Sept. 30. If the deal is completed, it will increase its position in the play to 1.1 million net acres.
Meanwhile, the company said it plans to sell its producing crude oil and natural gas properties and supporting assets for cash to an undisclosed buyer. Continental said its east region is primarily composed of properties east of the Mississippi River, including Michigan, the geologic Illinois Basin and other areas. The company said production from the properties being sold averaged about 1,100 boe/d for the three months that ended Sept. 30.
“We are divesting noncore, conventional assets and reinvesting the proceeds in an attractive acquisition that further builds our strategic, core position in the Bakken,” said CEO Harold Hamm. “Continental operates a large portion of the acreage that we are acquiring, and more than half of it is held by production.”
Both transactions, which are subject to conditions and adjustments, are expected to close by the end of the year. Continental said once the Bakken deal is completed, it expects additional 2013 drilling capital expenditures will be largely offset by incremental cash flow from the properties.
Last month, Hamm said the company was working toward becoming a “super independent” within the next 10 years, through a growth plan to triple production and proved reserves, primarily in the Bakken, by the end of 2017 (see Shale Daily, Oct. 10). Hamm said Continental plans to achieve average output of 300,000 boe/d by 2017.
During a third quarter conference call on Thursday, Hamm said production averaged a record 103,000 boe/d in 3Q2012.
Continental’s shareholders approved the purchase of Wheatland Oil Inc.’s core assets in the Bakken for $276 million in August (see Shale Daily, Aug. 14).
The hot play has been attracting significant attention thanks to its oil-rich properties. Behind Continental, the top five net acreage holders are rounded out with Hess Corp (900,000 acres), Whiting Petroleum (714,567), ConocoPhillips (626,000) and EOG Resources (600,000).
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