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2012 profiles: Harold Hamm, Continental Resources Inc. founder and CEO

Continental Resources Inc. CEO Harold Hamm is optimistic about his company's future as it moves its headquarters to Oklahoma City.
BY JAY F. MARKS Published: January 15, 2012

Harold Hamm has Continental Resources Inc. on the move, in the board room and in the oil field.

Continental is well into its move to Oklahoma City from Enid, the company's founder and CEO said, although that has left employees scattered among a number of locations in both cities.

Hamm said Continental has increased communication to avoid any disruption to its operations.

“We want right now to over-communicate within our company,” he said. “That way we make sure nothing drops through the cracks.”

Continental also has hired an administrator to oversee the company's transition into its new home, the downtown building being vacated this year by Devon Energy Corp.

“We needed somebody concentrating on it full-time,” Hamm said. “That is a key piece of what we're doing for 2012.”

Despite the hurdles inherent in such a change, Hamm is intent on making sure the move from Enid does not stop the company from making good on its 2009 pledge to triple in size within five years.

“We're making sure that we stay in step with what we've already promised,” he said. “We're well on our way to doing that.”

Continental increased its production by about 40 percent to more than 75,000 barrels of oil a day in 2011.

Hamm said the company's ongoing transformation has been made possible by its concentration on oil production in only a few key plays, primarily in North Dakota's Bakken Shale.

He said the Bakken has become the No. 1 oil play in the world.

Continental boasts a growing acreage position there, with about 15 years of drilling inventory.

Things aren't so rosy for the industry as a whole, Hamm said, as low natural gas prices will cause some companies to struggle in 2012.

“There's a lot of natural gas to be developed in America, which is good, but you still get back to the market factors of supply and demand,” he said.

The United States has an oversupply of natural gas over the past handful of years thanks to new technologies and methods, so gas producers need to back away from some of their operations until prices improve, Hamm said.

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