U.S. drillers have the ability to double the country's oil production to 20 million barrels a day, but doing so too soon would tank oil prices, Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm said Thursday.
Hamm, who made his fortune by pioneering new drilling methods in North Dakota's Bakken Formation, did not offer a timeline for when this would be possible, but it would certainly be a difficult task. Surging U.S. production since 2008 was largely responsible for creating a global oversupply of oil that sent prices spiraling from more than $100 a barrel to $26 this past winter.
The billionaire oilman and energy advisor to President-elect Donald Trump acknowledged the difficulty of such a renewed boom in oil production.
"We could take it from 10 [million barrels a day] to 20 [million]. The key here is not to get too much production coming back in — oversupply the market — or prices collapse and that's not a good deal for everybody," Hamm told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."
"We have that potential in this country. That's what's available here. It needs to be done in a very systematic way," he said.