Officials: Weak Niobrara wells slow development in Wyoming

By JEREMY FUGLEBERG Star-Tribune energy reporter | Posted: Monday, October 31, 2011 7:00 am

Wells drilled into the Niobrara Shale formation in Wyoming aren’t producing much oil, and that’s discouraging developers from drilling more wells, a state oil regulator and an industry representative told legislators late last week.

While many well results in the formation are largely still not public, Wyoming Oil and Gas Supervisor Tom Doll said the wells drilled so far are only producing a fraction of the totals from a Colorado well that inspired exploration into the Niobrara in Wyoming.

“The reason we’re not seeing a lot of drilling activity in the Niobrara is those wells are not coming in as strongly as people thought,” he told the state Legislature’s Joint Minerals, Business and Economic Development Interim Committee at its meeting in Cheyenne on Friday.

Bruce Hinchey is president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, the state’s oil and gas industry trade group. He said the low production rates are discouraging companies from drilling more wells more quickly in the state’s southeast.

“Until we get some better results, it won’t be at a rapid rate,” he said.

At any given time, there are between four to six drilling rigs in Laramie, Goshen and Platte counties, Doll told the legislators.

Read the rest of the article at: The Star Tribune

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