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Ohio Utica Shale

Whiting purchase of Kodiak to create big Bakken oil producer

By Bob Downing Published: July 14, 2014

From Bloomberg News today:

Whiting Petroleum Corp's $3.8 billion purchase of Kodiak Oil & Gas Corp. will create the dominant crude-oil producer in the richest U.S. shale region as energy explorers seek access to future drilling opportunities.

Kodiak stockholders will receive 0.177 of a Whiting share for each Kodiak share they own, which is the equivalent of $13.90 based on the acquirer’s July 11 price, the Denver-based companies said in a statement yesterday. Including $2.2 billion in debt, the total transaction is valued at about $6 billion.

The agreement will vault Whiting ahead of Oklahoma billionaire Harold Hamm’s Continental Resources Inc. as the premier oil supplier in the Bakken shale formation in the northern Great Plains. Whiting is buying a company that more than doubled production last year while Whiting’s own output growth slowed as costs to bring new wells online surged.

Competition for Bakken assets is fierce because the geologic formation beneath North Dakota and Montana is the most prolific U.S. shale region, on a barrels-per-well basis, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Because most drilling rights on privately owned land in the area have already been snapped up by corporations, explorers can only expand through acquisitions.

“This is the right deal, at the right time,” James Volker, Whiting’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview today. “It massively enhances the scale of the two companies combined.”


The Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana has been a hotbed of U.S. oil exploration after innovations in sideways drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, enabled access to previously impenetrable rock layers.

New wells drilled in the Bakken pump an average of 510 barrels of oil a day, compared to 479 barrels for wells in the Eagle Ford shale in south Texas and almost four times as much as Permian Basin wells in west Texas and New Mexico, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The relatively high crude output means explorers may recoup their drilling costs and begin booking profits from Bakken wells faster than those in other formations.

The Kodiak purchase will give Whiting drilling rights across 855,000 net acres, surpassing Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) as the second-biggest leaseholder in the area, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In North Dakota, home to some of the richest sections of the Bakken, daily crude output exceeded 1 million barrels in April for the first time in history, making the state a bigger oil supplier than Ecuador or Qatar, both members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC. In the U.S., Texas is the only state that pumps more crude than North Dakota, according to the Energy Department.


The per-share price represents about a 5.1 percent premium to Kodiak’s volume-weighted average over the past 60 days, the companies said. Kodiak fell 2.3 percent to $14.23 on July 11, while Whiting declined 1.8 percent to $78.54.

An enterprise value for Kodiak of $6 billion is about 8.8 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization last year. That compares with a median of 11.6 times Ebitda for U.S. oil and exploration deals since 2009 valued at more than $1 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Whiting and Kodiak executives have known each other for years, but began to evaluate a deal in recent months, Kodiak Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lynn Peterson said in an interview yesterday. “We both reside here in Denver, our offices are across the street.”



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Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.