Skip to comments.Crude oil potential from Colorado's DJ Basin gets bigger (a lot bigger)
Posted on 06/22/2014 12:12:53 PM PDT by ckilmer
The estimated amount of crude oil and other liquids that could be pumped from Colorado’s booming Denver-Julesburg Basin has grown to more than 4 billion barrels.
And that’s just using estimates from the two biggest oil and gas companies — Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC) — working in the DJ Basin, which sprawls north and east of Denver into Wyoming and Nebraska.
The two companies, together, figure the DJ might be capable of producing at least 4.1 billion barrels of oil equivalent and possibly as high as 4.6 billion barrels, figures that include other natural gas liquids such as propane, butane and ethane.
And that number is likely to go even higher, according to executives from the two companies.
The figures are estimates that factor in the use of current-day technology and the current economic climate.
Gary Willingham, Noble’s senior vice president for U.S. onshore operations, said the company believes it can recover about 2.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent from the DJ.
Willingham spoke at the DUG Bakken and Niobrara conference, held April 3-4, on developing unconventional oil and gas resources at the Colorado Convention Center. The conference drew about 2,200 industry executives and was sponsored by Houston-based Hart Energy, an industry research, event and publication firm.
Noble's 2.6 billion figure is a jump of about 500 million barrels over last year’s estimate, Willingham said — adding that the company expects to boost its estimate of recoverable resources again next year.
As for the other big oil and gas company working in the DJ Basin, Anadarko spokesman John Christiansen said Monday that the Texas energy company figures it can recover an estimated 1.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent “with an additional 500 million barrels of potential upside through optimized spacing,” meaning it can drill more wells in a smaller area.
If Anadarko is allowed to drill more wells in an area, that means the DJ could produce 4.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent — under the current estimates.
Both companies are investing billions in the area.
Anadarko expects to spend $1.5 billion in Colorado this year, Christiansen said.
Noble has said it expects to spend about $2 billion this year.
And Willingham said at the conference that Noble expects to spend a total of about $12 billion in the next five years.
The company is looking to drill about 700 wells a year by 2018, he said.
Anadarko execs better have their tax records all in order...
An influx of “oilfield trash” could turn Colorado red. So expect the politico’s to try to stop drilling and fracking.
Colorado Ping ( Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from the list.)
I drove up I25 to South Dakota, via Wyoming last month. Hard to see much drilling activity. I know “they” don’t want rigs west of I25 lest they spoil the view.
What we did see were near continuous unit trains of coal coming out of Wyoming. Makes for long rail road signal crossings.
Looks like the habitat for the “endangered” “Durango” Sage Grouse is about to expand to the front range.
To put this in perspective, the Piceance and other oil shales contain an estimated 1.4 trillion barrels.
I wonder if the green weenies will put as much effort into stopping this front range economic boost as they do to stop Western Slope energy projects.
that’s oil shale and not shale oil.
You have to melt the shale oil.
You don’t have to melt shale oil.
Crushing and melting oil shale costs a lot more than fracking shale oil.
Wow, not sure why you weren’t seeing them. I live in viewing sight of I25 on the west and there are 3 drills sites between me and 66 in view of I-25. If you move further west of me, there are probably 10 well sites before you hit Longmont. Massive operations. They have been putting up large walls of some brown something around them. Or hay bale walls.
And I am positive they just recently started drilling around the mall area in Loveland, full view of the interstate.
The resource is there; the potential for a multitude of well-paying jobs and $$$ in state revenue is there. The question is whether the enviro-wackos and green-weenies will stop development under the guise of local government protection of the environment. This is increasingly happening even in states long used to oil and gas development and the revenues they produce (see Denton Texas story at the link).
Piceance, et cetera, still have over 300 times the oil of DJ Basin. Wake me when energy Independence is something more than a campaign slogan.
The “crush and melt” process is ‘80s technology. The current in situ processes are far more efficient and avoids the issue of spent oil shale disposal.
But its not being done except perhaps experimentally.
Piceance, et cetera, still have over 300 times the oil of DJ Basin.
This is great news if true. I posted a report that the DJ basin is now estimated to have about 4 billion barrels of oil. So you think Piceance has 120 billion barrels of oil. That’s fabulous. However, I’d be happier if you’d post some articles that corroborated your view.
(I’m assuming you’re not talking about oil shale—which is a rock and has to be melted. Its not shale oil which is fracked.)
Here: An estimated 1.5 trillion bbl of oil in place lies in Western Colorados Piceance basin oil shale, the US Geological Survey said in the first comprehensive assessment published since 1989. The amount represents a 50% jump from the previous 1 trillion bbl of oil in place estimate because about twice as many oil yield data points were used, it added in a new report.
Even at the previous 1 trillion bbl estimate, the Piceance represented the largest oil shale deposit in the world.
Here: How large is this resource? In the Piceance Basin, an area of 1,100 square miles, the oil shale is over 1 million barrels per acre, or roughly 750 billion barrels of recoverable oil. If you extend outward to Wyoming and to Utah, it is 1.3 trillion. This is why you hear shale next to trillions, not billions or millions, of barrels.
There's gas, too: The Piceance could end up being the biggest natural gas field in North America," said Fred Julander, owner of Denver-based Julander Energy and a long-time observer of Colorado's natural-gas sector. Julander estimates the basin's total gas accumulation could be as much as 100 tcf ...
As I mentioned to you “oil shale” is not “shale oil”. They are very different animals. “Oil shale” is rock that has to be melted to extract the oil either in situ or in furnaces. Its expensive. Nobody is doing it except the estonians.
Don’t get me wrong. I love this stuff. It would make the USA self sufficient in oil forever. But the oil industry in the USA has all but given up on it for now. They’re only focused right now on “shale oil” which is in liquid form but diffuse underground. The oil industry has the technology right now to pull that shale oil out of the ground profitably. So that’s what they’re going to be doing for the for seeable future.
On natural gas I’ve seen reports by wpx energy of some pretty big natural gas finds. They’re not as big as the biggest initial production rates of the best Marcellus fields of Pennyslvania or the best Utica fields of Ohio. But they’re still darn impressive. The results have been good enough to allow WPX to keep drilling for natural gas when everyone else in the Piceance Basin has stopped drilling for natural gas. (Prices are too low for natural gas to make it profitable to drill for natural gas in most instances. But if flow rate volumes are high enough from a w— then the volumes will make up for the low prices. This is the case back east in the Marcellus and Utica formations. As well, initial discoveries in the Piceance Basin by WPX suggest that natural gas volumes will enable them to drill profitably for natural gas as well.
It may well be that Piceance natural gas reserves are as high as the articles you cite suggest. As of now, that’s unproved. But we’ll see. WPX’s results are promising. So its worth watching.
If you would like to be encouraged, here is one of the best oil videos I’ve ever seen.