Crude is king, at least when it comes to the oil and natural gas industry. Continental Resources Inc.'s long-established devotion to that principle is just one of the reasons the Enid-based company is atop the Oklahoma Inc. rankings for the second time in three years, CEO Harold Hamm said. Hamm credited Continental's employees with much of the company's success because teams in Continental's different operations areas have developed "amazing” synergy. "Teamwork is certainly one of those things that sets us apart,” he said. Continental's revenues rose a state-best 33.7 percent for the year, while its 178.2 percent rise in earnings per share was third best. President Jeff Hume said the company has been blessed with Hamm's vision to hunt for oil, combining his expertise with a solid asset base. "I think that's one of the reasons we're doing well financially,” he said. Hamm said Continental has an inventory of quality assets in place, making it possible for officials to plan to triple the size of the company over the next five years. Continental historically has doubled on that time schedule. He said most of Continental's $1.359 billion budget will be dedicated to developing those assets. "We put most of that back in the ground,” Hamm said. He said there are not many U.S. oil and natural gas companies whose crude oil production exceeds more than half of its total production. "You really run out before you can count that many. Very few,” he said. "A lot of people lost the will to look for crude oil as the industry was flooded with cheap foreign oil for the past 40 to 50 years.” That has changed as the nation began efforts to wean itself off foreign oil. Hamm said new technology also has made it easier to extract oil from areas long thought to be untenable for producers. "There's a lot of opportunity here in America,” he said. Continental is at the center of one of the biggest areas of opportunity in the U.S.: the Bakken Shale formation in North Dakota and Montana. "There's a lot going on up there,” Hamm said. "That's the hottest oil play in America today, probably the hottest exploration play — period.” The Enid-based company has become synonymous with the Bakken. It was the first company to drill a horizontal well there and remains the Bakken's largest leaseholder with about 865,000 acres. Hamm had estimated the Bakken could yield 8 billion barrels of oil, but he said he now thinks it may hold three times that much oil. Continental also has high hopes for Oklahoma's Anadarko Woodford Shale, a liquids-rich resource play. Hume said the play has some similarities to the Bakken, according to tests the company conducted several years ago in Dewey County. Continental has assembled more than 250,000 acres of leasehold in the area with plans to continue ramping up its drilling schedule there. "That's going to be a very exciting play for Oklahoma,” Hume said.