Halcon Resources' (NYSE:HK) latest operational update from its Tuscaloosa Marine shale acreage is a major boost for the company. The Horseshoe Hill 11-22H-1 well in Mississippi -- the company's first in this emerging shale play -- reported an average 24-hour initial production rate of 1,548 BOE/d, with crude oil representing 78% of the produced volume. While there have been mostly positive reviews on the company's first well in the shale, it's still too early to gauge the impact of this update on the company's overall production volume.

While Encana (NYSE:ECA) and Goodrich Petroleum (OTC:GDPM) have also clocked IP rates similar to that of Halcon's Horseshoe Hill well, we still do not know the average decline or the estimated ultimate recovery rates for wells in the play. For Halcon, this is of critical importance because the company's existing production from its Bakken and El Halcon properties isn't sufficient to drive meaningful growth. Additionally, there are a few things that investors need to keep a hawk's eye on with regards to the company's financial performance, including its debt level. Merely watching the company's operational updates may not be prudent at this point of time.