What: Shares of SandRidge Energy (NYSE: SD) rebounded sharply on Thursday, up nearly 18% at one point in early-morning trading. Twin fuels drove the surge, with the company reporting better-than-expected third-quarter results and announcing a new acquisition.

So what: SandRidge Energy reported a narrower loss than expected after the company lost $0.07 per share, which was $0.05 per share less than the consensus estimate. Driving this result were lower lease operating costs, which fell from $11.27 per barrel of oil equivalent, or BOE, in the year-ago quarter to $9.91 per BOE during the third quarter.

In addition, SandRidge also increased its full-year production guidance to a range of 29.5 million-30.5 million BOE from 29 million-30.5 million BOE. Furthermore, the company also achieved its year-end Mid-Continent well cost target of $2.3 million during the third quarter, which is 23% lower than last year's cost.

Finally, the company announced the acquisition of 136,000 acres in the North Park Basin Niobrara Shale of Colorado. This is a pure developmental play with limited current production, though it is derisked after the seller and EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG) saw strong initial production rates on the last six wells drilled. Furthermore, it is also worth noting that EOG Resources has spoken highly of this play in the past, which bodes well for SandRidge in the future. However, at the moment it isn't high up on EOG Resources' priority list because it earns higher returns elsewhere in its portfolio. That said, SandRidge does't have quite as rich a portfolio as EOG, and therefore it has a much higher view of this play, having identified more than 1,300 future well locations, which is a 10-year drilling inventory. These are very economical wells for SandRidge and are expected to earn a 32% internal rate of return at the current future projected price of oil. Thus SandRidge expects this asset to be an important part of its plans in 2016 and beyond.

Now what: SandRidge Energy made a lot of progress during the quarter to become a more efficient operator in the low-oil-price environment. It's hoping to take those efficiencies over to a new basin, in an effort to drive strong returns during the currently tough operating environment. That said, it still does have a tough road ahead of it, with the company continuing to lose money, which will be tough to reverse until oil prices rebound.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.