Continental Surges After Tapping Deeper Layer of Bakken

Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Continental Resources Inc., the largest owner of U.S. Bakken Shale leases, drilled the first successful well in a geological layer more than two miles beneath the surface.

Continental’s Charlotte 3-22H well extracted crude from a deeper section of the Bakken’s Three Forks zone than any company has tapped before, the Oklahoma City-based explorer said in a statement today. The well in McKenzie County, North Dakota, was drilled more than 11,600 feet (3,536 meters) into the ground before veering sideways for 9,701 feet.

The breakthrough 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.

“This is a positive for CLR and other Bakken players in general,” Leo Mariani, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in Austin, Texas, said in a note to clients today. “CLR” is the ticker for Continental’s stock.

As a result of the success at Charlotte 3-22H, the company raised its estimate for the amount of oil locked in the Bakken by about 57 percent to the equivalent of 903 billion barrels, according to the statement.

The shares rose 4.2 percent to $71.60 at the close in New York.

Continental owned drilling rights on 1.1 million acres in the Bakken region at the end of the third quarter, more than any other operator, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Industries.

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