Harold Hamm Down on California’s Monterey Shale

The Continental Resources CEO says it’s ‘tough to break the code’

As founder and CEO of Continental Resources, Harold Hamm controls the most drilling rights in the Bakken oil field.
National Journal
Amy Harder
Add to Briefcase
Amy Harder
Oct. 16, 2013, 3:53 a.m.

Oil ex­ec­ut­ive Har­old Hamm, who made bil­lions tap­ping the vast Bakken oil field in North Dakota be­fore oth­er com­pan­ies saw the po­ten­tial, soun­ded a pess­im­ist­ic tone about wheth­er the in­dustry will de­vel­op Cali­for­nia’s Monterey Shale form­a­tion, which is es­tim­ated to have pos­sibly five times more oil.

“It’s just been tough to break the code on how to get that,” said Hamm, founder and CEO of Con­tin­ent­al Re­sources, an in­de­pend­ent oil com­pany with the largest foot­print in the Bakken oil fields in West­ern North Dakota. “Every­body thought they could and it hasn’t worked out.”

He ad­ded that the field, which is loc­ated in the San Joa­quin Val­ley in cent­ral Cali­for­nia, has not yet ma­tured to a form that com­pan­ies could de­vel­op with today’s tech­no­lo­gies.

Speak­ing at a din­ner Wed­nes­day night in Wash­ing­ton with me­dia re­port­ers and oth­er in­de­pend­ent-pet­ro­leum ex­ec­ut­ives, Hamm said his com­pany had con­sidered pur­su­ing the Monterey form­a­tion.

“We went there and thought it might have a lot of po­ten­tial,” Hamm said. “I’d be out there, but I just can’t do any­thing dif­fer­ent than some of the people who have already been there and made that at­tempt.”

The oil in­dustry’s po­ten­tial pur­suit of the Monterey shale form­a­tion has triggered an in­tense de­bate over hy­draul­ic frac­tur­ing, or frack­ing, in Cali­for­nia, a drilling tech­nique that’s helped un­lock vast re­serves of oil and nat­ur­al gas around the coun­try, in­clud­ing in North Dakota. But it’s con­tro­ver­sial for the en­vir­on­ment­al risks as­so­ci­ated with it, in­clud­ing wa­ter con­tam­in­a­tion.

Last month, Cali­for­nia’s Demo­crat­ic Gov. Jerry Brown passed a law reg­u­lat­ing frack­ing.

Called a “pi­on­eer” by In­teri­or Sec­ret­ary Sally Jew­ell this sum­mer for his early in­sight in­to the oil in­dustry’s po­ten­tial in North Dakota, Hamm’s glum out­look for the Monterey doesn’t bode well for pro­du­cers look­ing to tap in­to it.

“I don’t see — ” Hamm stopped mid-sen­tence and re­cast what he said: “It’s yet to be seen”¦It might have a lot of po­ten­tial, but there are reas­ons why it’s not be­ing pro­duced.”

What We're Following See More »
WHAT WILL PASS?
McConnell Doubts Criminal Justice Reform Can Pass This Year
4 minutes ago
THE LATEST
ALSO FIRED UNATTRACTIVE WAITRESSES
Trump Did Business with Cuba
45 minutes ago
THE LATEST

Today in bad news for Donald Trump:

  • Newsweek found that a company he controlled did business with Cuba under Fidel Castro "despite strict American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal, according to interviews with former Trump executives, internal company records and court filings." In 1998, he spent at least $68,000 there, which was funneled through a consluting company "to make it appear legal."
  • The Los Angeles Times reports that at a golf club he owns in California, Trump ordered that unattractive female staff be fired and replaced with prettier women.
POST-DEBATE SURVEYS
Clinton Holds Lead in Five Battlegrounds
57 minutes ago
THE LATEST

In some of the first state-by-state surveys since Monday night's debate, Hillary Clinton has the edge in five battlegrounds, according to polls by Public Policy Polling. In four-way matchups, Clinton leads Donald Trump 46%-40% in Colorado, 45%-43% in Florida, 44%-42% in North Carolina, 45%-39% in Pennsylvania, and 46%-40% in Virginia. Gary Johnson doesn't top 7% in any state. Voters in all five states thought that Clinton decisively won the debate.

Source:
TIME TO SPLIT
House Passes CR, Sends Bill to President’s Desk
13 hours ago
THE LATEST
CAN’T NAME ONE WORLD LEADER
Gary Johnson Stumbles Again
14 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
×