The rock is an oil-rich portion of the Woodford Shale that lies beneath oil fields tapped by some of the state's biggest oil names, including Phillips, Noble, Hefner and Skelly.
“It's a huge opportunity for the company and another great asset for us because we're looking at an asset with rates of return that compete head-to-head with what we're doing in the Bakken” in North Dakota and Montana, said Jack Stark, Continental's senior vice president of exploration.
“With that as another opportunity that is widespread and repeatable, it gives us one more avenue of growth that has as much upside potential as we see in the Bakken,” he said.
The new field already has drawn the attention of Wall Street.
“Just like in anything else, diversification is positive,” said Rehan A. Rashid, analyst with FBR Capital Markets in Washington. “For investors, the Bakken is great. But if you add the diversity of another field, it's much better for me to be able to invest in the company that has something more than just one project area.”
Even though the new goal is ambitious, analyst Gail Nicholson said, she expects the company to meet the new production marks and continue growing.
“The management team members are very intelligent and are very good at planning everything out to make sure they have the personnel, infrastructure and everything else to support their efforts,” said Nicholson, an analyst with KLR Group in Tampa, Fla.