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Continental Rises on Higher Production, Reserves: Dallas Mover

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Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Continental Resources Inc., the biggest petroleum leaseholder in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale field, gained the most in more than two years after reporting production increased 57 percent and reserves grew 39 percent.

Continental rose 11 percent to $82.47 at the close in New York, the highest price since the shares began trading in 2007 and the biggest increase since May 2009. The shares have climbed 42 percent in the past year.

Daily production in the fourth quarter of 2011 rose to 75,219 barrels of oil equivalent, up from 48,034 a year earlier, Enid, Oklahoma-based Continental said in a statement today. Year-to-date production is 80,000 barrels a day. The company is scheduled to report financial results Feb. 22.

Standard & Poor’s raised its rating on Continental’s debt one level to BB+ today, the highest non-investment grade, saying it expects production and reserve growth to continue. North Dakota oil production rose 4.5 percent in a month to a record 509,726 barrels a day in November, according to the state’s Department of Mineral Resources.

Continental’s proved reserves rose to the equivalent of 508 million barrels of oil on results from drilling in the Bakken shale formation and in the Anadarko Woodford region of Oklahoma, according to the statement. Proved reserves rose 39 percent even as gas deposits equivalent to 23.4 million barrels were removed. The company has canceled plans to drill gas wells there before 2014 because of low prices for the fuel, according to the statement.

Continental leases 901,000 acres in North Dakota’s Bakken field, the largest holding, according to Bloomberg Industries. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Harold Hamm owned 68 percent of the stock as of Nov. 2, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Polson in New York at jpolson@bloomberg.net

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

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