Continental Boosts Bakken Estimate 57% After Well Success

Continental Resources Inc. (CLR), the largest owner of oil-drilling rights in the U.S. Bakken Shale, said the formation holds about 57 percent more crude than previously thought. The shares rose the most in more than three months.

The formation beneath North Dakota and Montana holds the equivalent of 903 billion barrels of so-called oil in place, compared with the company’s 2010 estimate of 577 billion, Oklahoma City-based Continental said in a statement today. The Bakken’s potential expanded after the company was the first to successfully tap a deeper geological layer of the Three Forks zone, according to the statement.

The breakthrough at the Charlotte 3-22H well represents the second exploration triumph in as many months for Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Harold Hamm. The company announced a discovery known as the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province, or SCOOP, on Oct. 9 that may add 1.8 billion barrels to Continental’s reserves in coming years.

“The results are very encouraging and indicate that there may be an upside to our estimate of 24 billion barrels of oil equivalent of recoverable reserves for the Bakken field,” Jack Stark, Continental’s senior vice president of exploration, said in the statement.

The shares rose 4.8 percent to $71.99 at 10:16 a.m. in New York after earlier gaining as much as 5.6 percent, the biggest intraday increase since Aug. 3.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Carroll in Chicago at jcarroll8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net

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