Aug 5 (Reuters) - Continental Resources Inc, the second-largest oil producer in North Dakota's Bakken shale formation, posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday as the company slashed costs to offset plunging crude prices.
In a bold bet on oil prices and the ability to keep costs low, Chief Executive Harold Hamm boosted Continental's 2015 production guidance.
"Our teams are performing very efficiently," Hamm said in a statement, forecasting that output this year should now rise 19 to 23 percent. Continental previously expected a 16 to 20 percent rise for 2015.
The company posted second-quarter net income of $403,000, or break-even on a per-share basis, compared with $103.5 million, or 28 cents per share, in the year-ago period.
Excluding one-time items, including derivative losses and the write-down on the value of some assets, Continental earned 13 cents per share.
By that measure, analysts expected earnings of 4 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Shares of Continental rose 1 percent to $32.32 in after-hours trading on Wednesday. The stock has lost 17 percent of its value so far this year.
Average daily production increased 35 percent to 226,547 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
Continental said its drilling and completion costs for new wells has dropped 20 percent this year, and that it expects an additional 5 to 10 percent drop by December.
(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Peter Galloway and Cynthia Osterman)
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