Continental Resources' CLR drilling program at Bakken Shale oil properties in North Dakota continues to improve, with greater initial production rates than during the third quarter of 2009.
Continental participated in 17 gross wells (with 6.3 net interest) during the fourth quarter of 2009 with initial seven-day production rates averaging 980 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), up 29% from the third-quarter average of 761 boe/d. We're encouraged by higher initial production rates achieved, particularly at six Continental-operated gross wells targeting Three Forks/Sanish (TFS) deposits. These TFS wells had seven-day average initial production rates ranging from 901 boe/d to 1,990 boe/d, with an average of 1,242 boe/d. We view this favorably, as the strong TFS production rates support Continental's belief in two separate oil reservoirs in the Middle Bakken and TFS zones. These results give us reason to review our model assumptions and to closely monitor Continental's 2010 Bakken development plan.
We're also interested in Continental's 2010 plans to develop Bakken properties using its ECO-Pad concept to optimize production from both Middle Bakken and TFS zones. The firm plans to drill four wells from a single drilling pad on 1,280-acre spacing to reduce well costs and allow for longer horizontal wells for greater production potential. This entails two pairs of parallel horizontal wells, with one well of each pair targeting the Middle Bakken and another targeting the TFS zone. We were encouraged by Continental's test of this concept during the 2009 fourth quarter, where the Omar 2-1H in Williams County targeted the Middle Bakken zone and produced 694 boe/d during its initial test period. This was drilled parallel to Omar 1-1H targeting TFS that was drilled during the third quarter of 2008. We will monitor Continental's progress this year as it tests its ECO-Pad concept.