Thanks to the Bakken shale, Whiting Petroleum (NYSE:WLL) has been growing at a frantic pace, but today it's starting to look at several other prospective plays to help boost its production numbers even further. It can be challenging to keep pace with all this frantic activity, but investors should keep three things in mind when Whiting releases earnings this quarter.

One of those critical questions will be how the company has been able to bring down operational costs at the well. Bakken-centric producers Kodiak Oil & Gas (UNKNOWN:KOG.DL) and Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) have brought per-well costs down between $500,000 and $1 million this year alone, and if Whiting hopes to continue to be a top player in this region, it will be critical that it replicate these sorts of cost efficiencies. To learn two other key factors you should watch for in Whitings earnings, tune in to the following video. 

Fool contributor Tyler Crowe has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him at under the handle TMFDirtyBird, on Google +, or on Twitter, @TylerCroweFool.

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