In a bold move, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (APC) has 6 permits pending before the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) for a 6 well pad of horizontal wells just 5 miles directly south of Watkins, CO in Arapahoe County. The permits are for 5 Niobrara wells and 1 Graneros/Greenhorn well (WATKINS 30-5-12H, WATKINS 30-5-5H, WATKINS 30-5-5GH, WATKINS 30-5-9H, WATKINS 30-5-8H , WATKINS 30-5-4H). To this author’s knowledge, this is the first big multi-well pad to be requested outside of the prolific Wattenberg Oil Field in Weld County in the Niobrara Play. Previously other players outside the Wattenberg field have only sought to permit one horizontal well with the option to drill another.
The pending well permits, if approved, will be located on a 15 acre pad site in Sec. 30 T4S R64W. With a cost of 4 to 5 million dollars a well, this is a substantial investment by APC in the Niobrara. In 2011 Anadarko drilled at least one wildcat well on the Lowry Bombing Range to the south whose production results are still eagerly awaited by all. It takes only a small jump of the imagination to surmise that the results of that wildcat well must have been very encouraging in order for APC to make an even larger bet south of Watkins, just 1 mile north of the Colorado State Land Board, Lowry Bombing Range property.
Equally intriguing, APC is following others in the Wattenberg Field such as Chesapeake Energy, Noble Energy, Encana, and Kerr McGee by petitioning to drill a Graneros/Greenhorn formation well. This would be the first horizontal well to be drilled in that formation outside of the Wattenberg Field. The possibilities of producing from multiple self-sourced shale formations, from compact multi-well sites, could make the DJ Basin even more appealing for development than it already appears to be.
Along with the permits for the 6 well pad in Sec. 30 T4S R64W, APC has also petitioned for a conventional vertical well HAWTHORNE 24-8, located 2 miles southeast of Watkins, to produce from the NIOBRARA, FORT HAYS, CODELL, D SAND, J SAND, GRANEROS, and GREENHORN formations. It can be inferred that the purpose of this well, which is also a wildcat, will be to provide important geologic data to aid APC in the evaluation this area for all of the major oil producing targets in the basin.
If Anadarko is successful in permitting, drilling and completing these wells with good production results, a whole new chapter in the Niobrara Play and the DJ Basin could be opened with multiple formations being drilled and produced from compact multi-pad drill sites outside of the comfortable confines of the Wattenberg field.