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Oklahoma poised to become top oil producer, Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm says

Surging crude production in Oklahoma has the state on the verge of becoming the nation’s third-largest source of oil, according to officials at Continental Resources Inc.
By Jay F. Marks, Business Writer Modified: June 6, 2014 at 10:00 pm •  Published: June 5, 2014

Oklahoma is poised to cash in from the ongoing U.S. oil boom, according to one of the nation’s foremost experts on the topic.

Continental Resources Inc. CEO Harold Hamm said tax incentives meant to encourage horizontal drilling have done their job, as Oklahoma’s oil production is steadily increasing.

Oklahoma produced 388,000 barrels of oil a day in March, marking its highest output in 25 years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration

That is up 17 percent over March of last year, 49 percent over March 2012 and 80 percent over March 2010.

“That’s the whole horizontal drilling story right there,” said Warren Henry, Continental’s vice president of research and policy.

Hamm said it took some time for drillers to learn the best techniques for horizontal drilling in Oklahoma, but they now are applying those methods in more than a dozen different resources plays around the state. He estimated that many more remain to be explored.

He said he is pleased state lawmakers adopted a gross production tax proposal little changed from the plan put forth by Hamm and two other Oklahoma City energy leaders, Devon Energy Corp. Executive Chairman Larry Nichols and Chesapeake Energy Corp. CEO Doug Lawler.

They suggested a 2 percent tax on the first 48 months of production from all wells drilled in Oklahoma, while opponents wanted a return to 7 percent. The Legislature approved and Gov. Mary Fallin last week signed into law a rate of 2 percent for the first 36 months of production. It will go into effect next summer, replacing an expiring incentive program.

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Top U.S. oil producers in February

•Texas: 81.9 million barrels

North Dakota: 26.6 million barrels

California: 15.5 million barrels

Alaska: 14.4 million barrels

Oklahoma: 9.2 million barrels

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration


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