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(Flickr/Mark Gallagher)

Rocky Mountains to be part of next big shale play

By Zach Koppang | Shale Plays Media

As Colorado continues to become a major player in the shale mining industry, companies have been exploring the untapped land in search of unclaimed reservoirs, and EOG Resources Inc. has recently announced that areas in the Colorado Rockies will soon add a major boon to their high rate-of-return drilling portfolio.

Four horizontal plays in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, a geological structural basin located in Eastern Colorado, and Power River Basin, which occupies southeast Montana, have moved out of their evaluation phase and into the drilling phase. EOG expects these new wells to be as successful as the South Texas Eagle Ford, North Dakota Bakken, and Delaware Basin Leonard assets in their current drilling portfolio.

With recent drops in drilling costs and the continued technological advancement of well completion techniques, EOG has noted how the Codell, Niobrara, Parkman and Turner plays are all proving to maintain excellent rates of return coupled with what they call “remarkably consistent well results.” The company has identified 735 net drilling locationsthroughout their work over the past decade, and has plans to begin operations on 73 new wells in 2014.

Over the years, as EOG steadily built its drilling locations and wells, the company has earned a reputation for being the ones to quietly and preemptively buy acreage. In 2013 EOG finished three horizontal wells in the Niobrara shale play, known for being rich in hydrocarbons. Future estimates are very carefully based upon data from over 100 vertical wells operated by other industry members and the evaluation of the formation’s geological properties.

EOG estimates the reserves contained within the Niobrara acreage located in Laramie County, Wyoming, and Weld County, Colorado hold an 85 Million Barrels of Oil Equivalent (MMboe) net. With the addition of the Turner and Parkman plays to EOG’s operating areas, plans are in the works to increase productivity of existing wells and to develop new wells. Having already operated in the area for several years, EOG plans to apply the same improved technology to well sites in this region, adding to the positive growth to the company’s operations and overall reclamations. These technological advancements have also led to the recovery of a higher quality crude oil.

EOG’s board chairman and chief executive officer William R. Thomas commented on how the Bakken and Eagle Ford formations’ outputs set the standards high. However, Thomas said “The Codell, Niobrara, Turner and Parkman each meet our stringent funding hurdles, adding 400 MMboe, net, of potential reserves and 735 net drilling locations to our drilling inventory. The sweet spots in these four plays are expected to make meaningful contributions to EOG’s crude oil production profile for years to come.”

Related: Heavy air pollution found over Colorado oil fields

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