Niobrara (CO & WY) - update through May 2018

This interactive presentation contains the latest oil & gas production data through May, from all 7,962 horizontal wells that started production in the Niobrara region (Colorado & Wyoming) since 2009/2010.

As shown in the graph above, 2017 was a similarly strong year for oil production growth as 2013, with more than 150 thousand bo/d added. Since the end of last year, production from unconventional horizontal wells has remained just below half a million bo/d. In May about 70% of total oil production came from wells that started since the beginning of 2017. Gas production has now reached a level of 2.5 Bcf/d (set ‘Product’ to ‘gas’).

Completion activity is still a bit behind the record levels seen at the end of 2014, with ~120 wells per month added (vs. ~160 in the 2nd half of 2014).

A big factor behind the recent output levels is then also improved well productivity, as shown in the ‘Well quality’ tab. Wells that started in 2017 performed better than earlier wells; on average they reached the 100 thousand barrel mark within the first year of production, while this took at least 1.5 years for earlier vintages.

Anadarko and Noble Energy are the largest operators in this region (see “Top operators”), but Extraction Oil & Gas is catching up rapidly.

The ‘Advanced Insights’ presentation is displayed below:



In this “Ultimate Recovery” graph, the average cumulative production of all these horizontal wells is plotted against the production rate. Wells are grouped by the quarter in which production started.

The jump in performance since Q4 2016 is clearly visible here. Since then however, no further improvement is seen. If you group the wells by month, to see more recent and granular data, you’ll note that the best performance so far is shown by wells that started in Dec 2016.

Many of the wells here are already at or close to stripper well status. Wells that started before 2014 are producing now on average at a level of 15 bo/d or lower.

More dashboards, with other types of data (completion sizes, lateral lengths, etc) and more up-to-date data are available in our online analytics tool, for which you can request a free trial. We just started a YouTube channel in which we are sharing some movies on how you could perform particular analyses using this new tool: ShaleProfile Analytics on YouTube

The following is a screenshot from a dashboard that shows a map with the gas-oil ratio (GOR) of all wells in the heart of the DJ-Niobrara basin, in their most recent month. On the right side you can see their ultimate recovery curves, with the related GOR plotted below. Also in this basin you can find areas where the GOR is rising faster for more recent wells, and that this is negatively impacting long-term recovery rates (not shown here below).


[right-click and view/download to see a higher resolution version]

Early next week I have an update on all 10 covered states in the US.

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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