Continental Resources Inc. has announced that its production in the Bakken region has increased by four percent with 66 net completed operated and non-operated wells in the Middle Bakken and Three Forks formations during the first quarter of 2015.
During this time, the company operated an average of 13 rigs in the region, down from the 19 operating at the end of 2014. The company’s production in the Bakken averaged 135,538 barrels of oil equivalent per day for the first quarter, an increase of 39 percent compared to the first quarter of 2014. Through the remainder of the year, based on current market conditions, Continental plans to average 10 operated rigs.
To maximize returns for the upcoming year, the company will focus on core leasehold areas in Williams, McKenzie, Mountrail and Dunn counties. While concentrating on the core of the play, Continental will also be entering the first stage of full-field development with roughly 60 percent of the wells in its 2015 program drilled with 660-foot to 880-foot inter-well spacing. Wells completed in this year’s program will utilize 30-stage enhanced completions to further maximize production rates and recoverable reserves per well.
In Williams and McKenzie counties, where Continental has its largest data set, enhanced completions are delivering an average 90-day production increase of roughly 40 percent for hybrid completions and 50 percent for slickwater completions when compared with its offset legacy wells.
The company projects estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) uplifts in a range of 25 to 45 percent for enhanced completions, eventually expanding the drilling activity into Mountrail and Dunn counties where similar uplifts and EURs are expected. For the 2015 Bakken drilling program, Continental is aiming for an average EUR of approximately 800,000 Boe per well.
In a statement, Continental Chairman and CEO Harold Hamm said, “Our teams have done an outstanding job making the necessary adjustments to achieve our 2015 goals by aligning capital expenditures with cash flow by mid-year, reducing expenses across the board, and maximizing returns on every dollar we spend. We’re proud of Continental’s early 2015 performance and discipline.”
As planned, the company significantly reduced its completion crew count in the Bakken during the first quarter with three active crews compared to last year’s 10. Based on current market conditions, the company plans to maintain this level throughout the year.
Currently, Continental has 115 gross operated Bakken wells drilled and waiting on first production, down from the 2014 year-end count of 122. By the end of this year, the company expects to have approximately 90 gross operated Bakken wells drilling and awaiting first production.
“Looking ahead, U.S. oil production is starting to roll over, as anticipated. Given the depth and quality of our assets, Continental is well-positioned to resume growing cash flow and earnings when the oil price environment improves. We remain encouraged by the outlook for the second half of the year and for 2016,” Hamm said.