Managing Growth in Boom Times

Mid-Market Company of the Week: Kodiak Oil & Gas

Kodiak Oil & Gas has spent a lot of money to build a premier position in the Bakken Shale Oil Fields. The Bakken formation occupies about 200,000 square miles below the surface of the Williston Basin, which covers parts of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, and it is rich with oil resources. How rich?

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, oil resources in these shale formations are 7.4 billion barrels, double an estimate for the region made five years ago. In 2008, the agency estimated total oil in the Bakken formation, was 3 billion to 4.3 billion barrels.

Kodiak has been testing new drilling strategies in the Williston Basin that are being closely watched by others in the industry. These strategies involve drilling more wells and placing them closer together than is typical in a field, with the aim of getting oil out of the ground faster, thus speeding growth of the company’s reserves and value.

Kodiak currently has drilling rights to 42,000 acres in North Dakota, boosting its total in the Williston Basin to nearly 200,000 net acres. The company is estimated to ultimately produce anywhere from 650,000 to 850,000 barrels of oil per well. At $95 oil that yields internal rates of return in a range of 54% to 84%. Those increased recoveries make Kodiak’s wells very valuable, especially in a day where $100 oil is likely here to stay.

Guiding Kodiak is CEO Lynn Peterson. A certified public accountant educated at the University of Northern Colorado, Peterson has more than 25 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. He became a director of Kodiak in November 2001, and was appointed top executive of the company in 2002.

Source: Bloomberg / Bakken, Three Forks Has More Oil Than 2008 Estimate: USGS / April 30, 2013 –

Source: The Wall Street Journal / Kodiak Oil & Gas Discussed Possible Takeover / July 11, 2013 –