Continental expects to produce 20.6 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBoe) in 2011, an increase of 30 percent over expected production for 2010. The Company confirmed that 2010 total production is expected to be 15.8 MMBoe, in line with guidance.
"Our 2011 capital expenditures budget of $1.36 billion will support accelerated growth," said Harold Hamm, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "We've committed 91 percent of 2011 capex, or $1.2 billion, to drilling, workovers and facilities, which directly support production growth.
"Of this drilling-related capex, 92 percent will be invested in the Bakken Shale play in North Dakota and Montana and in the Woodford Shale play in Oklahoma," he said. "These two plays will be critical to driving our growth for the next five years."
In the third quarter ended September 30, 2010, Continental continued to add to its acreage positions in strategic, liquids-rich plays. The Company now has 864,559 net acres leased in the Bakken Shale play, an increase of 47,707 net acres in the third quarter. In the Niobrara Shale play of Colorado and Wyoming, the Company now has leased 73,000 net acres, an increase of 13,929 net acres in the third quarter of 2010.
Continental also announced that it recently completed a strong confirmation well in the Southeast Cana area of the Anadarko Woodford play in Oklahoma in the third quarter of 2010. The Dana 1-29H flowed at 2.5 MMcfpd natural gas (million cubic feet per day) and 88 Bopd (barrels of oil per day) in its initial one-day test period. This was Continental's third and most productive test well completed in the southeastern portion of the Anadarko Woodford play, validating the productivity and scope of the play from Dewey County in the northwest through Canadian County to Grady County in the southeast, a span of approximately 100 miles.
"The Anadarko Woodford is an enormous, liquids-rich shale resource play," Mr. Hamm said. "We and other operators are just beginning to understand the productive potential of this play."
Continental announced the completion of 26 Company-operated gross wells (16.4 net) in the North Dakota Bakken play in the third quarter of 2010, with an average one-day production test of 995 Boepd (barrels of oil equivalent per day). These wells, with their one-day test results, included:
Among Continental's operated wells completed in the third quarter of 2010 were the four wells in its first ECO-Pad(R) project - Hegler 1-13H and 2-13H (83% WI) and Arthur 1-12H and 2-12H (94% WI) in Dunn County. Continental's ECO-Pad concept involves drilling paired wells in adjoining 1,280-acre spacing units. The ECO-Pad concept involves drilling the first pair of parallel wells to target the Middle Bakken zone and the Three Forks zone in the first unit, separated vertically by about 50 feet and horizontally by 660 feet. The second pair of wells duplicates this pattern in the adjoining spacing unit.
All four wells are drilled from a single drilling pad, which reduces surface footprint. The Arthur and Hegler wells in the first ECO-Pad project had a one-day test production rate total of 4,359 Boe, for an average of 1,090 Boepd per well.
"Production rates and wellbore pressures clearly indicate that the Middle Bakken and Three Forks zones are isolated from one another, confirming our expanded view of the North Dakota Bakken's potential," Mr. Hamm said. "We are producing these wells under restriction to conserve the energy resource and minimize flaring.
"This is clearly the technology approach to take as we move into full-scale development," Mr. Hamm said.
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