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Niobrara: Unconventional oil production from horizontal wells is now close to half a million bo/d

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Niobrara (CO & WY) – update through March 2018

This article contains still images from interactive dashboards available on the blog post. To follow the instructions detailed here, use the interactive dashboards. You can also explore the dashboards to uncover different insights and trends.


This interactive presentation contains the latest oil & gas production data through January, from all 7,658 horizontal wells that started production in the Niobrara region (Colorado & Wyoming) since 2009/2010.

Unconventional oil & gas production in this region is at record levels, after a surge in 2017. With production from still a few percent of the wells missing, March production from these horizontal wells came in at 480 thousand bo/d, with the bulk (~75%) coming from Weld county in North Colorado, in the heart of the D-J basin.


Well productivity went up significantly since Q4 2016 as can be seen in the ‘Well quality’ tab. Operators completed longer laterals, and used far more (~40% vs. a few months earlier) proppants per completion.


The last tab (‘Top operators’) shows the 5 leading operators in this area. Extraction Oil & Gas, the 3rd largest operator, tripled its production to over 50 thousand bo/d in just the past year.


The ‘Advanced Insights’ presentation is displayed below:


In this “Ultimate Recovery” graph, the average cumulative production of all these horizontal wells is plotted against the production rate. Wells are grouped by the quarter in which production started.

If you extrapolate some of these curves down to a production level of 10 bo/d, you’ll get a cumulative oil recovery of roughly double the amount that is recovered in the first 12 months.

Once Ohio releases Q1 production numbers, which I expect in the coming days, I will have a new post on the Appalachian basin, including West Virginia which just published 2017 production data.


Production data is subject to revisions.

For this presentation, I used data gathered from the following sources:

  • Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission
  • Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission

Visit our blog to read the full post and use the interactive dashboards to gain more insight

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Edited by shaleprofile
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