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Continental Resources profit beats as higher production offsets weaker prices

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April 29 (Reuters) - Top Bakken producer Continental Resources Inc beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit on Monday, fuelled by higher production at its oil-rich North Dakota shale field that helped more than make up for weaker crude and gas prices.

The company's shares rose 3 percent to $49.50 after hours.

Continental, among the top 10 independent oil producers in the United States, has focused on its shale assets in the oil-rich Bakken field of North Dakota and Montana, as well as the SCOOP and STACK plays in southern Oklahoma.

In North Dakota's Bakken region, shale production hit a record 1.41 million barrels per day hit in January.

Oklahoma City-based Continental said average production rose 15.6 percent to 332,236 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the first quarter.

The company's average net sales prices, excluding hedging, fell to $35.56 per barrel of oil equivalent (boe), from $41.26 per boe a year earlier.

Adjusted net income fell to $216.6 million in the three months ended March 31, from $255.1 million.

Excluding one-time items, Continental reported earnings of 58 cents per share, beating the average estimate of 49 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company also maintained its expectation to produce 190,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) to 200,000 bpd and natural gas between 790 million cubic feet and 810 million cubic feet for 2019. It also reiterated its budget of $2.6 billion. (Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Sriraj Kalluvila)