Noble plans for accelerated development in 2013 and beyond
At the December 6th Noble Energy Analyst Conference, the company said that the Niobrara is a top oil resource play on par with other highly successful plays such as the Bakken and the Eagle Ford. Noble’s presentation stated that the use of extend reach laterals (laterals longer than one mile) has increased the estimated ultimately recoverable (EUR) oil from a Niobrara well from 335 Mboe to 750 Mboe.
Due to the success of new drilling techniques of using extended reach laterals in multiple horizons, the company plans a rapid acceleration of their drilling program in the Niobrara by more than 50% in 2013, with an estimated 500 wells per year being drilled by 2016. The company estimates it will spend nearly 10 billion dollars in capital on the development of their Niobrara acreage from 2013 to 2017.
Noble’s focus on technology, science, and data collection has enabled it to triple the estimates of oil in place for the Niobrara. This feat was accomplished with a comprehensive program that includes: five strategically placed cored wells with over 2100 feet of unconventional laboratory analysis, 1650 miles of 3-D seismic, formation imaging logs, and monitored completions with micro-seismic on 55 Wells.
In addition to its significant investment in geologic engineering, the company has also made significant strides in petroleum engineering and logistics. Noble’s fit-for-purpose rigs have helped them to increase the SPUD to rig release time by over 25% ,with the record being less than 6 days. Combined with their dedicated water, sand, and frac crews, the company increased completions over 200% year over year.
To complete the Niobrara picture, the company also has plans to expand its midstream infrastructure to include gas processing expansions of 900 MMcfd by 2015, a new 150 MBbl/d NGL pipeline in late 2013, oil takeaway capacity increase of 190 MBbl/d by 2015, and more infield pipelines to increase flow assurance and reduce truck traffic and cost.
Noble Energy’s future in the Niobrara appears to be bright!