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America’s Oil Boom Is Fueling Growth at Continental Resources Inc.

Photo credit: Ole Jorgen Bratland / Statoil ASA

The oil keeps flowing for Continental Resources  (NYSE: CLR  ) . The Bakken Shale-focused driller grew its production by 39% last year. On top of that the company grew its proved reserves by 38% ensuring that its oil will continue to flow for years to come. Let's take a closer look at the company's success in 2013 as well as at its future potential.

Bakken Shale-fueled production growth
Continental Resources was able to grow its production to 49.6 million barrels of oil equivalent, or BOE last year. That was 39% more oil and gas than the company produced in 2012. Overall, 71% of the company's production was oil as the oil rich Bakken Shale of North Dakota continues to fuel a bulk of Continental Resources production.

Continental's production could have been even higher if the company didn't experience significant weather delays in the fourth quarter. The company noted that its production for the quarter averaged 144,250 BOE/d, but it hit a new production milestone of 150,000 BOE/d in November before bad weather hit. It was just recently able to regain production above 150,000 BOE/d.

Looking ahead to 2014, Continental Resources expects to grow its production by 26%-32%. Most of that growth will again be fueled by the Bakken Shale, however, the company is beginning to focus more of its attention on growing its production out of Oklahoma.

Reserves are growing nicely too
Continental Resources is growing its proved reserves nearly as fast as it's growing its production as evidence by its by 38% growth to 1.08 billion BOE. About three quarters of the company's proved reserves are in the Bakken Shale where it continues to add new reserves.

The Bakken Shale has been good to oil companies of all sizes. Norway's Statoil ASA (NYSE: STO  ) , for example, noted in its latest earnings release that the Bakken Shale was one of the areas where it was able to add to its reserves last year. Statoil's spending to ramp-up its production in the Bakken and other U.S. shale plays led to increased reserves being recorded. Meanwhile, the reserves of smaller Bakken focused drillers like Oasis Petroleum (NYSE: OAS  ) are showing tremendous growth. The company grew its proved reserves by 59% to 227.9 million BOE. The combination of upward revisions to previous estimates as well as new discoveries enabled Oasis Petroleum to organically add four times as much oil as it produced last year.

All that being said, the area where Continental Resources saw the biggest boost in reserves last year was in the SCOOP play in Oklahoma. The company grew its SCOOP reserves from 63 million BOE to 215 million BOE, which was a 214% jump. Investors should expect to see continued rapid growth in the company's SCOOP reserves as it's spending a quarter of its 2014 capital budget to grow its rig count by 80% as it further develops that play.

Investor takeaway
Led by the Bakken Shale, Continental Resources sees no end in sight to its ability to grow both its oil production and reserves. In fact, the company remains on pace to triple both metrics from its 2012 base by the year 2017. That growth makes it an exciting way to invest in the American oil boom.

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Matt DiLallo

Matthew is a Senior Energy and Materials Specialist with The Motley Fool. He graduated from the Liberty University with a degree in Biblical Studies and a Masters of Business Administration. You can follow him on Twitter for the latest news and analysis of the energy and materials industries:

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