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Devon Energy optimistic about new Oklahoma oil play

Devon Energy is ramping up activity in central Oklahoma's Woodford Shale, a newly revealed oil play.
BY JAY F. MARKS Modified: August 23, 2013 at 7:45 pm •  Published: August 22, 2013

Devon Energy Corp. has no shortage of experience in shale plays, so it's no surprise the company chose to look beyond the emerging Mississippian formation in its home state.

Devon dug deeper, finding an oil-rich shale formation that officials introduced during this month's earnings call.

CEO John Richels and Dave Hager, Devon's chief operating officer, hailed central Oklahoma's Woodford oil shale as an “exciting” play for the company.

“To date, we've identified 1,000 risked locations in this light-oil resource play,” Richels said during the Aug. 7 call with analysts.

Hager said Devon has completed 29 wells in the play, with 10 of those wells providing initial production of more than 800 barrels of oil equivalent a day.

Kris Goforth, vice president for Devon's Mississippian business unit, said developing the Woodford was a natural progression for Devon given its history with shale.

Devon was a pioneer in north Texas' Barnett Shale, one of the first plays where producers were able to figure out how to unlock oil and natural gas from dense rock formations.

“We were looking at the Woodford all along,” she said. “We have a lot of shale experience at Devon.”

Goforth said the formation is similar to western Oklahoma's Cana Shale, but it produces more oil.

“It's a true oil play,” she said.

Morningstar analyst Mark Hanson said the discovery bodes well for Devon and its shareholders.

“Early results from the Woodford appear impressive and could provide an additional boost to Devon's oil and liquids growth program in the years ahead,” Hanson wrote in an Aug. 7 note to clients.

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