By LOUISE S. DURHAM, EXPLORER Correspondent – AAPG Explorer – June 2013
Ask a Rocky Mountain operator how it’s going, and the answer might well be a non-committal “it’s going. ”There’s both oil and gas aplenty in this region, but as is the case elsewhere, gas prices here continue to languish in life support mode. This can be a downer in the major gas-prone areas where deep horizontal wells requiring multistage fracturing have become the rule rather than the exception. These big babies are expensive to drill and complete. But optimism trumps pessimism, and the operators go about their business.
“Across the Rockies, people are having success if they’re careful where they’re drilling,” said past AAPG president and Honorary member Steve Sonnenberg, professor and Boettcher Chair in petroleum geology at Colorado School of Mines, Denver. “One of the exciting things going on is the development of the Niobrara in the Wattenberg field in the DJ Basin in Colorado,” he said. “Operators are drilling horizontal laterals about 4,500 feet and using multi-stage hydraulic fracturing. “The wells are coming on from 100 to 700 barrels of oil equivalent a day,” he noted.