Expect Continental Resources Inc to Continue Dominating

Continental Resources (NYSE: CLR  ) , a Wall Street favorite, is one of the best shale bets around. With the stock up more than 600% in the past five years, is the fun over, or will renowned CEO Harold Hamm uncover additional wealth for investors?

What this year will bring
By adding eight rigs to its fleet this year, Continental Resources will complete 22% more wells and boost output by an estimated 26%-32%. That is an upward revision and comes after Continental reported growing 2013 output by 39%, as proven reserves rose by a similar 38%.

The golden nugget in Continental Resources' reserve growth is the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province, otherwise known as the SCOOP play. In the SCOOP, Continental Resources grew proven reserves by 241% to 215 million barrels of oil equivalent. To further grow its reserve portfolio, Continental Resources plans to spend $100 million this year exploring the area on top of the $790 million it will spend on developing the play.

The SCOOP remains a source of major upside for Continental Resources and other players in the region due to reserve upside from the Lower Woodford play.

While Continental Resources will spend a pretty penny on the SCOOP, North Dakota remains Hamm's pride and joy. With 1.2 million net acres in the area, Continental is devoting $2.2 billion to developing the area and another $300 million to discovering new recoverable resources. 

Deeper slice of pie
To access the lower Three Forks while still drilling into the Middle Bakken on each unit, Continental Resources has been testing out downspacing through pilot projects. One such project, the Hawkinson, was completed with much success last year, and three more are planned for this year.

The Tangsrud, Rollefstad, and Wahpeton projects are under construction, and management has guided for an update somewhere in the first half of the year. While the Tangsrud and Rollefstad projects are being drilled on 1,320 acre units like the Hawkinson, the Wahpeton is being completed on a 660 acre unit.

Shareholders should keep track of results coming out of the Wahpeton once construction is completed. If Continental can replicate results seen on its 1,320 acre units with 660 acre units, then it will be able to access more of the Three Forks' true potential.

Kodiak Oil & Gas (NYSE: KOG  ) has also been very successful in its downspacing efforts in the Bakken.  

Smokey the bear
While Kodiak Oil & Gas' results show that production rates from wells tapping into the Three Forks aren't as high as those tapping into the Middle Bakken, there is still substantial oil to be uncovered from the region.

Polar Pilot

Average Production (BOE/d)

 

30 Day

 

60 Days

 

90 Days

 

120 Days

 

150 Days

Middle Bakken

1,020

 

845

 

735

 

666

 

611

Three Forks

933

 

751

 

645

 

570

 

519

All Wells

977

 

798

 

690

 

618

 

565

                   

Smokey Pilot

Average Production (BOE/d)

   
 

30 Day

 

60 Days

 

90 Days

 

120 Days

   

Middle Bakken

940

 

738

 

648

 

566

   

Three Forks

659

 

516

 

417

 

357

   

All Wells

799

 

627

 

532

 

461

Source: Kodiak Oil & Gas' Website

Foolish conclusion
Continental Resources remains a juggernaut as oil production from the Middle Bakken soars. To continue its momentous hike upward, the lower Three Forks benches beneath the Middle Bakken offer Continental an even longer growth runway.

As Continental Resources reaches down deep with Kodiak Oil & Gas into the Three Forks, expect both to turn up plenty of undiscovered value. What's key for 2014 is figuring out just how valuable the Three Forks play really is and how far exploration and production players can go with downspacing. If you want stable growth trading at low valuations, look no further than Continental Resources and Kodiak Oil & Gas.

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