Bakken Shale Play Leads Energy Rally

U.S. stock markets are climbing today on the back of reasonably good economic data. Markit's reading of manufacturing confidence, known as a manufacturing purchasing managers' index, fell to 51.5 in October from 52.8 in September, but the reading above 50 still indicates economic growth. Jobless claims also fell 12,000 to 350,000 last week, within the range where claims have been for most of the year. Investors took this data as a good sign that the shutdown hasn't affected the economy too negatively and have bid up the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) by 0.68% late in trading.

One part of the market that's helping job growth and economic production in the U.S. is shale oil production, which has been a boon to states like North Dakota. Recent data out of dominant players Kodiak Oil & Gas (NYSE: KOG  ) , Whiting Petroleum (NYSE: WLL  ) , and Continental Resources  (NYSE: CLR  ) shows that growth in oil and natural-gas production in North Dakota continues to rise after explosive growth for the past decade.

Source: Energy Information Administration.

Kodiak Oil & Gas announced earlier this week that third-quarter production reached 35,400 barrels of oil equivalent per day, up 54% from just a quarter ago. In the first nine months of the year, the company's production is up 105% to 7.3 million BOE.  

Whiting Petrolium announced last night that third-quarter revenue jumped 57% to $831 million and net income more than doubled to $204.1 million on a 12% increase in production. Another 39,310 acres in the Bakken shale purchased in August will expand the company's exposure there.  

Continental Resources is leveraging the Bakken play as part of its effort to triple production and proved reserves from 2012 to 2017. The company will report third-quarter figures on Nov. 6, but it already said it expects to increase production by 26% to 32% in 2014.  

All three companies are leveraging the Bakken play, and their stocks are climbing today in part because of the constant stream of news from the region. North Dakota is a sudden energy hotspot, and these three companies are some of the best ways to play it.

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