Gulfport Energy Corp. searching globe for oil

CEO Jim Palm said 90 percent of Gulfport's production is oil, including sweet crude from Louisiana that sells at about a $25 premium to the West Texas Intermediate produced in Oklahoma and surrounding states.
BY JAY F. MARKS jmarks@opubco.com Published: November 13, 2011
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Gulfport also has acquired acreage in Ohio's Utica shale, one of the nation's hottest new oil plays.

“That'll be our big growth area next year,” Palm said.

The company intends to drill 1,000 wells there in the next few years.

He said Gulfport aims to buy into areas with a lot of oil in place, using new technology like directional drilling to extract as much of it as possible.

Palm said the Niobrara shale in Colorado and Wyoming has seen lots of activity, but some of the buzz has gone away.

Gulfport has some holdings in northwest Colorado, where Palm said the company will begin drilling aggressively by next spring.

It currently is interpreting data from scientific wells on the company's acreage.

Moore said Gulfport will continue to focus on crude oil exploration, despite the commodity's price fluctuations.

“It's a world commodity with world demand,” he said.

But he would not rule out a switch to increased natural gas production, if conditions are right.

Investors seem to like Gulfport the way it is, with the market valuing the company for its strong balance sheet.

“Right now we have no debt,” Moore said.

He said the company tends to be conservative. It raises money for acquisitions, not operations.

“We drill out of cash flow,” Moore said.

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