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WELD COUNTY, CO - APRIL 15: One of the many oil and gas derricks in Northern Colorado was photographed Tuesday evening, April 15, 2014. An area northeast of Denver holds between 3 billion to 5 billion barrels of untapped oil. Oil production in Colorado has set records Ñ 63 million barrels in 2013, up from 49 million in 2012. (Photo by Karl Gehring/The Denver Post)

Recognition for Niobrara discovery in Colorado

Zach Koppang | Shale Plays Media

Last week, the largest gas and oil operator in the State of Colorado, WPX Energy, received the Best Discovery award from Oil and Gas Investor magazine for the company’s natural gas mining operations in the Niobrara Shale play.

The discovery was originally announced in January 2013. Since then WPX Energy has reported that the wells have produced more than 2.5 billion cubic of gas. The company is also finding ways to better assess the resource while identifying different methods of reducing drilling and completion costs.

In a press release WPX’s president and chief executive officer, Rick Muncrief, said “We’re grateful for this acknowledgement. It comes from a source that understands and covers industry inside and out.” Muncrief also commented that the continued energy development has substantial benefits for Colorado. WPX’s operations in Colorado over the past ten years have so far generated more than $1 billion in royalties for private landowners and more than $500 million in federal royalties.

Related: Rocky Mountains to be part of next big shale play

Over the past decade WPX has invested more than $7.5 billion to develop assets in western Colorado and has plans to spend another $475-495 million in 2014. Having been the largest natural gas producer in Colorado since the early 2000’s, WPX has produced enough volume to meet the energy requirements of 3 million homes per day.

In addition to the recent best discovery award, WPX has also received 20 other commendations for its drilling operations in Colorado, 15 of which came from the Colorado State Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Recognitions highlighted the company’s water management, water recycling, water quality protection, and use of innovative new technology.

As the Niobrara shale play continues to be explored, leading companies in the industry such as WPX can be seen as case studies for the feasibility and sustainability of oil and gas development in prospective shale plays around the nation.

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