An Oklahoma City-based energy company has unveiled a new formation in south-central Oklahoma that the company's CEO said will elevate the state as an oil producer.
Continental Resources Inc. said western Oklahoma's Springer Shale deposit is in the heart of the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province, Continental's last big discovery, The Oklahoman reported.
CEO Harold Hamm said the Springer and other new Oklahoma oil deposits have the state on track to surpass California and Alaska and become the nation's third-largest oil producer, behind Texas and North Dakota.
"That's something I don't think people even thought about a few years ago," Hamm said.
Will Parker, a senior exploration geologist at Continental, said the company's leading position in the south-central oil province allowed it to capitalize on its new discovery, which is in a shallower layer of shale.
Continental completed its first Springer well early last year. It produced more than 2,000 barrels of oil a day, according to the newspaper.
Continental drilled another exploratory well about 25 miles away to delineate the formation, then another near the original well to confirm the discovery.
The company then halted its operations to amass more acreage in the formation. It resumed drilling in the second quarter, with 118,000 net acres in its portfolio.
Parker said Continental has completed 11 Springer wells so far but kept its operations there quiet for 20 months. He said the company has 11 or 12 years' worth of drilling opportunities in the Springer's oil window.
Oil continues to be Continental's focus, in Oklahoma and North Dakota's Bakken shale.
The Bakken is still the company's prime resource, but Hamm is bullish about Oklahoma's potential.
He said Continental alreadyt is the most active driller in Oklahoma, with 27 rigs, but he expects that figure to double in the next few years.