Continental targets big savings in Bakken by end-2013

Oct 9 (Reuters) - Continental Resources Inc , the top oil producer in the Bakken region, said on Tuesday it expects to cut $1 million off the cost of its average well there by the end of 2013, as it takes on one of the biggest challenges in the booming oil basin.

The company aims to bring its per-well cost down to $8.2 million by the end of 2013 from $9.2 million in the first half of 2012, Chief Operating Officer Rick Bott said in a presentation to analysts.

The Bakken, which is centered in North Dakota and runs into Montana and Canada, is Continental's primary development, while it also has a large interest in Oklahoma's Anadarko Woodford basin.

Continental said late on Monday it expects to increase company-wide production in 2013 by between 30 percent and 35 percent, while drilling 300 "net" wells -- accounting for its share of partly owned wells -- up from 286 net wells this year.

Capital expenditure will rise to $3.4 billion from $3 billion in 2012, and two-thirds of the company's $2.9 billion in 2013 drilling capital would be spent in the Bakken.

Shares of Continental, which have increased by more than 50 percent in the last year, were 2.4 percent higher at $78.34 in late morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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