Niobrara (CO & WY) - update through July 2017

This interactive presentation contains the latest oil & gas production data from all 6736 horizontal wells that started production in the Niobrara region (Colorado & Wyoming) since 2010, through July.

With an increase in drilling and completion activities, oil and gas production is sharply higher in 2017. The oil output from these wells is now close to the previous record at 400 kbo/d, while gas production has kept growing in recent years, and just passed 2 Bcf/d. In July, 46% of total oil production came from wells that started this year.

In the “Well quality” tab we can see one of the causes of the higher output: an increase in initial well productivity. With average completion volumes now well beyond 1 thousand pound of proppant per lateral feet, and lateral lengths of over 1.5 miles, wells that were completed in 2017 are performing markedly better.

The average performance went up, despite an also larger number of new wells on production compared with the year before (632 vs 514), as can be seen in the “Well status” overview.

The last tab (“Top operators”), shows that of the 5 largest producers in this area, only Devon is significantly down in total oil output, as it almost entirely halted new drilling in the past 2 years.

The ‘Advanced Insights’ presentation is displayed below:



The fore-mentioned improvements can also be clearly see in this “Ultimate Recovery” overview, where the production curves are averaged for all the wells that started in a certain quarter.

Last week I ended with a post on the Haynesville in Louisiana, with a more detailed discussion in comments section on the effects of several refrack programs seen there. By the end of this week I plan to have a new post on another shale gas basin: the Marcellus (PA). This will be followed by updates on Texas, starting in the 2nd half of next week.

Production data is subject to revisions.

For this presentation, I used data gathered from the following sources:

  • Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission
  • Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission


The above presentation has many interactive features:

  • You can click through the blocks on the top to see the slides.
  • Each slide has filters that can be set, e.g. to select individual or groups of operators. You can first click “all” to deselect all items. You have to click the “apply” button at the bottom to enforce the changes. After that, click anywhere on the presentation.
  • Tooltips are shown by just hovering the mouse over parts of the presentation.
  • You can move the map around, and zoom in/out.
  • By clicking on the legend you can highlight selected items.
  • Note that filters have to be set for each tab separately.
  • The operator who currently owns the well is designated by “operator (current)”. The operator who operated a well in a past month is designated by “operator (actual)”. This distinction is useful when the ownership of a well changed over time.
  • If you have any questions on how to use the interactivity, or how to analyze specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.


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