Top Bakken producer Continental Resources on Oct. 29 said its output from the oil-rich North Dakota shale field hit a record during the third quarter and would increase significantly through the end of the year as it completed more wells.
Continental's Bakken production averaged a quarterly record of 167,643 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), up 23% from the third quarter of 2017. The company said it had added two rigs in the Bakken, bringing its current total to eight.
Continental expects fourth quarter Bakken production to "ramp significantly" with up to 70 wells completed by the end of the year.
"Continental anticipates a strong wave of oil-weighted production growth as we approach the year end," Chief Executive Officer Harold Hamm said in a release statement, pointing to growth in North Dakota's Bakken and drilling projects in Oklahoma.
Bakken shale output has surged to record levels this year, aided by a jump in domestic oil prices to near four-year highs. Output is anticipated to average 1.35 million barrels per day in November, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Excluding onetime items, Continental reported net income of $337 million for the third quarter, or 90 cents per share, beating consensus analysts' estimates by 8 cents, according to Refinitiv data.
The company said its oil production remained unhedged, creating a "positive tailwind" in the third quarter. Some rivals, including EOG Resources and Pioneer Natural Resources, have warned investors third-quarter earnings would be lower because they had hedged, or locked-in oil prices, at levels below average market price for the quarter to guarantee a profit.
Overall, Continental averaged 27.3 million barrels of oil equivalent, or 296,904 boe/d, during the quarter, a 22% increase from the prior year period.