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I have done a series of articles covering recent well results by Bakken operators. Information garnered from this shows improvements in 90-day IP rates. The main reasons are stimulation improvements from increase stages and proppant, but these companies are doing a better job in all phases of production. It wasn't long ago we were seeing 10 stage short laterals, and now long laterals with 30+ stages are common place. In my opinion, the two best operators are Kodiak (NYSE:KOG) and Brigham (NYSE:STO). It should be noted both have very good acreage positions as well. Kodiak's Polar and Koala prospects are its best, while Brigham's Alger Field acreage is thought by some to be the best in the Bakken. Whiting (NYSE:WLL) has had some very good completions in Sanish Field, and has been the first to work the Pronghorn. Oasis (NYSE:OAS) is getting much better, with significant upside in the Camp Field area.

Continental (NYSE:CLR) may be the best way to follow the Bakken. It has a large acreage that covers a significant area in North Dakota and Montana. Because of this, it has well results in virtually every area of the Williston Basin. Here are its 4Q 2011 and 1Q 2012 well results.



Continental's RecentBakken/Three Forks Well Results
Well NameIP Rate (BO/d)90-day IP RateStagesVolumeProppantChokeField
BURIAN 1-27H854 3059471291818418/64ST. DEMETRIUS
CHRETIEN 1-31H43 15262891339970 DEMORES
BEAVER CREEK STATE 1-36H8294132239318219273016/64BEAVER CREEK
ENTZEL 1-26H12085373052809282592720/64CABERNET
HAAG 1X-21H2301282750487223762622/64 
JACK 2-9H678 3061626296312722/64MURPHY CREEK
BENNER 1-6H905 3052751279082914/64JIM CREEK
GRANDE 1-18H8143193060174288410622/64JIM CREEK
CATRON 1-26H7532633059253292450018/64LITTLE KNIFE
KUKLA 3-16H1301 3059945293859129/64CHIMNEY BUTTE
CANDEE 3-9H813 27535622687948 CHIMNEY BUTTE
BENNER 1-6H905 3052751279082914/64JIM CREEK
GRANDE 1-18H8143193060174288410622/64JIM CREEK
DVIRNAK 2-7H7444963059132213266924/64JIM CREEK
DVIRNAK 3-7H8316043059132295904516/64JIM CREEK
PLETAN 3-18H1106544    JIM CREEK
PLETAN 4-18H12943873059465301528124/64JIM CREEK
THORVALD 2-6H659411301237298566114/64RATTLESNAKE POINT
KATE 2-19H10714353051698163390516/64BIG GULCH
MCKENZIE 1-34H2231453878412439652918/64MONDAK
NILS 1-25H7172973060541308253520/64HAYSTACK BUTTE
PALMER 1-25H5333133046856285597912/64HAYSTACK BUTTE
BAILEY 3-24H8773162437568228167920/64PERSHING
BAILEY 2-24H495244244330204606016/64


WILEY 2-25H3093613053887283289416/64PERSHING
WILEY 3-25H7243913053150274486220/64PERSHING
DURHAM 1-2H11386373054433287609018/64NORTH TOBACCO GARDEN
ROCHESTER 1-24H8384222952385277320414/64NORTH TOBACCO GARDEN
JERRY 1-8H4723783053605288468512/64POE
BERLAIN 1-30H10944183055120285603120/64PATENT GATE
QUALE 1-1H14237653053959289091024/64ANTELOPE
MACK 3-2H5713061525820142204318/64ANTELOPE
MACK 4-2H9013351526545125892722/64ANTELOPE
BARKLEY 1-5H6064163054211285627818/64TWIN VALLEY
BOULDER 1-4H906 3060847287965620/64BANKS
CHARLOTTE 2-22H6923563051639227977818/64BANKS
PATTERSON 1-13H9295723054408255996018/64CAMP
MIRAMAR 1-32AH7833303054832240963918/64ELK
STANGELAND 1-18H5192731734265134561222/64CRAZY MAN CREEK
TRUMAN 1-23H9545813055984259003518/64LONG CREEK
TODD 1-6H691 3053821287883716/64BAKER
TALLAHASSEE 1-21H6023413053802290553016/64INDIAN HILL
CINCINNATI 1-30H567 3046503283814916/64INDIAN HILL
REHAK 2-25H7654503052949277316318/64ALKALI CREEK
SALEM 1-6H6713883060927256911122/64DOLLAR JOE
RALEIGH 1-20H5584383058617253828420/64DOLLAR JOE
PIERRE 1-21H4803203059868253006724/64DOLLAR JOE
MADISON 1-28H1823833055755251424018/64DOLLAR JOE
ANNAPOLIS 1-29H63438730579062542450 DOLLAR JOE
DOVER 1-30AH8014603060354258500824/64DOLLAR JOE
TOPEKA 1-1H6454073061017258870424/64BROOKLYN
JUNEAU 1-2H7403483053108254244024/64BROOKLYN
HELENA 1-7H9935043060099256030020/64BROOKLYN
SPRINGFIELD 1-8H6675113058190253694622/64BROOKLYN
BISMARCK 1-9H8164993051219255788518/64BROOKLYN
SACRAMENTO 1-10H5424663057605254061022/64BROOKLYN
ADDYSON 1-23H8714823054619255322624/64BROOKLYN
BOISE 1-24H38838127489662542515 BROOKLYN
RICHMOND 1-26H764 30575172546260 BROOKLYN
MILLOY 1-15H1481832439817221252618/64HEBRON
KING 1-5H699 3051674328320832/64OLIVER
MARCY 1-24H4724173060354257598524/64OLIVER
WILHELM 1-21H519 3059946256187020/64LONE TREE LAKE
RIXEY 1-28H682 3059740259895422/64LONE TREE LAKE
RUFFING 1-34H5543343053634256270320/64LONE TREE LAKE
COVELESKI 1-35H2983533057401250687020/64LONE TREE LAKE
GARNER 1-32H564 3063864338721526/64RAINBOW
MCCOY 4-18H541 30547322591592 NORTHWEST MCGREGOR
SEVRE 1-22H279 3062196345010026/64CORINTH
GROTE 1-21H2372433059774352693532/64NORTH TIOGA
MCGINNITY 3-15H770 3058549299705944/64STONEVIEW
LINDELL 3-10H325 3058272298589064/64STONEVIEW
MCGINNITY 4-15H487 3053970330263032/64STONEVIEW
ROSENVOLD 1-30H4922822448849281030034/64HAMLET
HAMLET 4-2H6094482448240279488730/64HAMLET
SALO 2-35H4293212445091248154332/64HAMLET
SALO 3-35H7563272341423260998328/64HAMLET
HAMLET 3-2H24044124510582587836 HAMLET
INGEBRET 1-8H314 3062319349668048/64WILDROSE
BRUNDTLAND 1-15H249 3062303348041032/64WILDROSE
TYLER 1-19H5663603059848356661032/64UPLAND
LAKEWOOD 1-20H1221772143278244928536/64UPLAND
HAGERUP 1-28H292 3063176348002732/64UPLAND
SCHILKE 1-30H421 1117643142109336/64UPLAND

There are several factors of focus with respect to Continental's recent results. The first is the fast expansion of stages to 30. Last year at this time, it was consistently doing 20 stage completions on its long laterals. It continues to choke back production, for the purpose of keeping pressure high with in the well for a longer period of time. I have received questions about this specific variable on several of my articles. Theories on well pressure are complex, so I will try to explain in the most simplistic way I can. It is believed by some oil producers that keeping well pressures high will lower initial production, but provide better production over the long haul. Also, longer time frames are seen until the well will be placed on artificial lift. Some fear not choking back production could possibly damage the well. Brigham (Statoil) uses a choke that allows crude to leave the well at a much quicker rate, and is the reason for its higher IP rates. What has been interesting, is longer term production has been better for Brigham than Continental, but Brigham's completion methods have been done with more proppant, higher water volumes, and larger number of stages. Because of this we are not necessarily comparing apples to apples. Further research is needed to determine the effects of well pressure, and this will take time.

In summary, Continental has had some very good results. These results are a huge step up from just a year ago based on 90-day IP rates. 90-day IP rates are used as what I believe to be the absolute minimum of time to properly model well results. This number can be used to determine depletion rates, which gives an estimated ultimate recovery or EUR. Its completions average 90-day IP rates of 400 to 500 BO/d, but several of its wells are 600 or better. Its QUALE 1-1H had a 90-day IP of 765 BO/d, which is competitive with many of the best wells in the Williston Basin. Not only are results getting better, but Continental is also beginning its ramp up of pad drilling. Continental will not only beat expectations in the amount of crude produced per well, but will also be ahead of schedule on the number of wells it completes. One thing to watch in the second quarter is the quick pullback in the price of crude. Many of these companies (Continental included) had large mark to market derivatives losses in the first quarter. Much of these losses will find their way back on balance sheets in the second quarter if oil prices remain below $90/Bbl. Right now Continental is trading at a large discount, and has value here. Given the upside to its production numbers, and large hedged position it could have a very good second quarter.

Disclosure: I am long KOG.

Additional disclosure: This is not a buy recommendation, but I do own Kodiak and have been adding below $8.