Niobrara (CO & WY) – update through November 2017

This interactive presentation contains the latest oil & gas production data from all 7,232 horizontal wells that started production in the Niobrara region (Colorado & Wyoming) since 2009/2010, through November.

November was good for another oil production record, at a level about 50% higher since the start of the year. With well completions almost double the number of November last year (113 vs 61), but still lower than at the end of 2014, it is especially the combination with rising initial well productivity that is causing the remarkable boom in output. Gas also set a new high, though the growth rate for 2017 is smaller than for oil (you can see this if you switch ‘Product’ to ‘Gas’).

The average performance of wells in Weld county, the core of this region, is still well below that of the other oily basins, due to shorter laterals and shallower depths. The decline is also rather steep, as is visible in the ‘Well quality’ overview. Wells that started in early 2014 are now already back to a level of 20 barrels of oil per day.

All large operators showed growth in output at the end of 2017, although Devon was still just producing at half the rate it had in March 2015 (see ‘Top operators’).

In the previous Niobrara post I mentioned that Anadarko showed a large loss in production in September 2017, but it appears that this was just a data reporting issue, as this is no longer the case.


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, which provides some indication on the ultimate recovery path that they are tracking. Wells are grouped by the quarter in which production started.

As you can see, there was a remarkable change in performance for wells since Q4 2016, with rates almost 50% higher than before.

With decline rates rather steep, these wells offer also some interesting data on whether and how well behavior changes at lower production rates (< 20 bo/d).

Next week I’ll have another update on the Marcellus, followed by posts on the Permian and Eagle Ford.

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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.