North Dakota's Bakken Shale is producing an incredible amount of oil. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, daily oil production should hit an average of more than 1 million barrels of oil this month. Production is only expected to keep growing from there. That leaves plenty of room for profitable growth for top Bakken Shale producers. Here are two great ways to invest in that boom.
Purely Bakken Shale
For investors looking for a pure play on the Bakken Shale, the best two opportunities are Kodiak Oil & Gas (UNKNOWN:KOG.DL) and Oasis Petroleum (NYSE:OAS). Both are entirely focused on growing oil production out of the region.
Kodiak Oil & Gas is the smaller of the two, with 192,000 net acres leased that are prospective for the Bakken Shale and lesser-known Three Forks formation. The company currently produces about 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and is spending about $1 billion per year to grow its position in this top oil play. Kodiak in recent years has grown both its oil production and its proved oil and gas reserves by a triple-digit annual rate. While its growing size and scale will make it tough to keep growing at that rapid pace, investors can still expect very solid growth from Kodiak Oil & Gas in the years to come.
Oasis Petroleum, on the other hand, has a much larger land position at 492,000 net acres, making it a top pure play for the Bakken Shale. The company is expected to produce roughly 46,000 barrels of oil per day this quarter, and like Kodiak Oil & Gas it's spending about $1 billion per year to grow operations in the region. The biggest difference between the two is that Oasis Petroleum can drill its Bakken Shale wells for less money as it has its own well services business that keeps costs down and it doesn't use 100% ceramic proppants.
The Bakken Shale and beyond
The safer way to play the Bakken Shale oil boom in 2014 is to go with a more diversified producer. Two top companies to consider here are Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) and Whiting Petroleum (NYSE:WLL). Both have top positions in the Bakken Shale, but are less risky investments thanks to diversification into other plays.
Continental Resources is the clear king of the Bakken Shale. It is the top lease-holder in the play, with 1.2 million net acres. It's one of the top producers in the play at 94,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day, and is spending twice as much as Kodiak Oil & Gas and Oasis Petroleum to grow in the Bakken Shale and Three Forks. However, it also has an emerging position in the SCOOP oil play of Oklahoma, which is getting 25% of the company's 2014 capital budget. That makes Continental Resources a great investment for both the Bakken Shale and beyond.
The final name investors will want to watch for 2014 is Whiting Petroleum. It's already one of the top producers in the Bakken Shale and has nearly 730,000 net acres to develop. While Whiting Petroleum is working hard to keep growing in the Bakken it is also looking for the next phase of growth, which appears to be Colorado's Niobrara. Whiting Petroleum already announced plans to accelerate development of its Redtail prospect in the Niobrara as it looks to profit from the next stage of America's oil boom.
Investors looking for pure Bakken Shale upside have two very good options in Kodiak Oil & Gas or Oasis Petroleum. If, on the other hand, an investor wants the Bakken with less risk, Continental Resources or Whiting Petroleum are solid options. With oil production expected to average more than 1 million barrels per day in the year ahead, with solid growth on top of that, this great American oil field is a great place to invest in 2014.
Fool contributor Matt DiLallo has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.