Energy Pipeline: Plugging old vertical wells could soon change Colorado’s landscapes

Extraction Oil and Gas LogoSharon Dunn – Greeley Tribune – April 15, 2017

Soon, the city of Broomfield’s landscape could substantially change. Once an oil field, now filled with residential development, the area is dotted with storage tanks and well sites.

If a plan by Extraction Oil and Gas comes to fruition, 41 unsightly wells that dot residential neighborhoods could disappear.

In fact, communities all over northern Colorado already are seeing fewer storage tanks and well sites — even while companies are drilling more wells.

That’s because of a relatively recent state oil and gas policy that is making a rather hefty impact in the Colorado oil scene. The rule is responsible for hundreds of old vertical wells being plugged and abandoned as companies seek to drill horizontal wells instead. The result is a cleaner landscape and a return of land back to surface owners.

The horizontal well offset policy has been responsible for hundreds of pluggings in the past two years. In 2016, companies drilling in Weld County plugged 801 wells, up 17.4 percent from the previous year, and up more than double the number of wells plugged of 2013, before the rule was implemented by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

The commission in 2014 created the horizontal well offset policy, which requires operators planning to drill horizontal wells within 1,500 feet of an old vertical well to examine the vertical well’s integrity. The fear, said Matt Lepore, executive director of the COGCC, was that there would be some communication between the new and old wells that would negatively affect pressure or the integrity of the older well. Continue reading “Energy Pipeline: Plugging old vertical wells could soon change Colorado’s landscapes” »

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Longmont mulls stand against statehouse bill that would compensate drillers for losses

Colorado State Capitol

By John Fryer – The Denver Post – February 20, 2017

Rep. Perry Buck’s measure would make governments that impose a moratorium compensate oil, gas companies

Longmont’s City Council is to consider taking a formal stand Tuesday night against a proposed state law that could make Colorado’s local governments liable for paying oil and gas mineral rights holders the market values of those rights if a city, town or county government bans hydraulic fracturing.

Windsor Republican Rep. Perry Buck’s House Bill 17-1124 — which would also require local governments to compensate oil and gas operators, mineral rights owners and royalties holders for lost revenues if those cities, towns or counties impose moratoria on oil and gas exploration — is up for a House committee hearing on Wednesday afternoon.

Longmont has neither a fracking ban nor an oil and gas development moratorium in place now, after last May’s Colorado Supreme Court rulings that Longmont’s voter-approved fracking ban and Fort Collins’ voter-approved five-year fracking moratorium were preempted by state law.

Continue reading story at The Denver Post

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ConocoPhillips may restart Niobrara Operations in 2017

At their fourth quarter earnings call on February 2nd, ConocoPhillips  – EVP, Production, Drilling & Projects, Al Hirshberg mentioned that the company may target a rig to operate in the Niobrara later in 2017.

Also mentioned in an article about COPs earnings at Seeking Alpha, titled “ConocoPhillips Does It Again, Say Hello To FCF“, contributor Callum Turcan suggested that: “Management noted that a third rig is expected to hit the Permian sometime this year, which may also operate in the Niobrara play for part of 2017. This rig will target both conventional and unconventional plays in the Permian and if it does hit the Niobrara play, will be used for appraisal, delineation, and optimization purposes to set the stage for full field development later on.

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A drilling rig in a residential Greeley neighborhood? It’s not what you think

Sharon Dunn – The Greeley Tribune – January 13, 2017

Bobbie Burke looked out her front window in west Greeley on Wednesday morning and saw an almost unbelievable sight.

A drilling rig — in her neighborhood. Upon closer inspection, the rig towered 60 to 70 feet in the air in a resident’s front yard in the Highland Park West subdivision near 54th Avenue and 26th Street.

“It’s a little strange looking at this out your front window,” said Burke, who lives on 56th Avenue.

Aren’t there supposed to be rules against drilling in a neighborhood, she wondered? And in someone’s front yard? Continue reading “A drilling rig in a residential Greeley neighborhood? It’s not what you think” »

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New Colorado Mineral Owner Organization Formed

A new organization has been formed to exclusively represent Colorado Mineral and Royalty Owners called CAMRO, Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners.

CAMRO was formed as a result of a long-running displeasure with the policies of the National board of the National Association of Royalty Owners.  After trying to resolve their concerns with the national organization, the NARO-Colorado board voted to take the organization in a different direction and has amended and restated their articles of organization and filed them with the Colorado Secretary of State disassociating the NARO-Colorado chapter from NARO-National.

CAMRO will continue to represent mineral and royalty owners in the state with lobbying efforts at the state capitol, advocacy at every level of government, and educational opportunities for its members and the public.

More information about CAMRO and how to become a member can be found at their website:

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Has Colorado’s Rig Count Hit Bottom?

Colorado Rig Count Chart - 2000 - 2016

Colorado Rig Count Chart – 2000 – 2016 – Niobrara News

With all the recent talk of OPEC and Russia coming to an agreement on limiting oil production to stabilize crude oil prices at a meeting in Algeria on September 26-28, 2016, one wonders how the outcome will affect activity in the Niobrara and other plays in Colorado.

We have provided a chart of the Colorado rig count from 2000 to September 2016 that shows the average rig count per month during that period of time.  The data was tabulated from the Baker Hughes Rig Count site from their Rigs by State spreadsheet.

Some key markers that may have an influence on the Colorado rig count have been entered on the chart for reference.  Markers such as the date of the 2008 stock market crash, the date of the JAKE well discovery, the beginning of the latest oil price slide, and the recent lowest price of West Texas International are most likely important drivers of oil activities in Colorado.

Historically, it would appear the the current state rig count sits very close to where it was sixteen years ago in 2000, all before the stock market crash and the shale oil phenomenon.

Only recently has there been a slight upturn in the rig count trend that started down in the middle of 2014.  Is this just a slight bounce, or a recovery to more healthy rig count levels? Only time will tell, but any price positive agreement on supply limitations from OPEC and other oil producing nations will no doubt contribute to a larger Colorado rig count.

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Top producers invest in west Texas but insist Colorado’s D-J Basin still has room to run

EIA Map Showing 7 most prominent shale plays

EIA Map Showing 7 most prominent shale plays

Drilling in Colorado is funding exploration in the Permian Basin

By ALDO SVALDI – The Denver Post – August 28, 2016

PDC Energy last week said it plans to invest $1.5 billion in the Delaware Basin in west Texas — money it won’t have available to boost production in the Denver-Julesburg Basin northeast of Denver.

Late last month, Encana Oil & Gas completed a $900 million sale of its holdings in the D-J Basin to Crestone Peak Resources, ending a long-running commitment.

PDC Energy and Encana were the basin’s fourth- and third-largest producers. Their moves, one a diversion and the other a divorce, raise the question of whether more Colorado petroleum producers will seek their future fulfillment in other fields.

Executives with Noble Energy, Anadarko Petroleum and Whiting Petroleum — three other big players in the D-J’s Wattenberg Field — offered reassurances Thursday of their commitment to Colorado’s most prolific petroleum play.

“It is hard to not see it being a key, core area where we invest money,” Noble Energy chairman, president and CEO Dave Stover said during the Rocky Mountain Energy Summit in Denver.

“We are always looking at our core basins, and we are still committed to the D-J,” Craig Walters, vice president of Wattenberg operations for Anadarko, said in a separate interview.

Anadarko, based in The Woodlands, Texas, and Noble, based in Houston, are the top two producers in the D-J Basin. But they are also active in the Delaware Basin, a subset of the larger Permian Basin of west Texas.

“Economically, they are very competitive,” Stover said of the two areas.

When oil prices started falling sharply in late 2014 and into 2015, Anadarko, Noble and Whiting cut their capital budgets but directed a larger share of what remained into the D-J Basin. Noble directs about 40 percent of its capital investment to the D-J.

Continue reading story at The Denver Post

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Bill Barrett Corp. to begin drilling in Denver-Julesburg Basin again

Bill_Barrett_LogoBy ALDO SVALDI – Denver Post – August 15, 2016

Denver-based Bill Barrett Corp. will revive its horizontal drilling program in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, with plans to bring a dozen new wells into production by the first quarter of next year.

Company president and CEO Scot Woodall, in a presentation at EnerCom’s The Oil and Gas Conference in Denver Monday, said the company has found a way to drill wells at nearly half the cost and in half the time versus 2014.

Strong hedging contracts will permit the company to sell up to 70 percent of its expected oil production for the remainder of the year at $72.57 a barrel, a significant premium to the $45 a barrel that a barrel of West Texas intermediate crude currently commands.

Continue reading article at The Denver Post

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