NIOBRARA SHALE UPDATE
WPX is working to double its Niobrara delineation drilling in 2014, with up to 10 wells expected. Combined with previous Niobrara activity, this will serve to delineate 80 percent of WPX’s Valley acreage. WPX’s 2014 Piceance plan includes approximately $75 million for Niobrara activity.
During its first year of production, WPX’s initial Niobrara Shale discovery well produced more than 2.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas. The discovery well is currently producing at a rate of 3 MMcf/d. WPX’s second horizontal Niobrara well – completed at the end of September – produced 0.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas in its first four months and is currently producing 4.6 MMcf/d.
A third Niobrara horizontal well that was drilled in August 2013 will be sidetracked or re-drilled due to a casing issue in the lateral section that occurred before completion operations commenced.
WPX drilled two additional Niobrara delineation wells in the fourth quarter. The first is a vertical test well located 12 miles east of the discovery well in the heart of the Rulison field. This well reached a total depth of 13,797 feet and penetrated the entire Niobrara section. WPX has begun testing and completion of multiple benches of the Niobrara in this well, where reservoir pressure initially was measured at 13,800 psi.
The fourth Niobrara horizontal well – located three miles north of the discovery well – had a total vertical depth of 11,000 feet and reservoir pressure of 10,400 psi. Due to higher than anticipated surface operating pressures, WPX decided to stop the drilling of the lateral at 1,000 feet and install casing.
After just four frac stages, the well flowed at a peak rate of 6.4 MMcf/d from the 1,000 foot lateral at 8,200 psi flowing pressure. WPX plans to ultimately achieve 5,000-foot laterals in the area north of the discovery well, which had a peak rate of 16 MMcf/d from a 4,600-foot lateral at a flowing pressure of 7,300 psi. Due to the high reservoir pressures experienced in Niobrara drilling so far, WPX plans to bring a higher-rated rig into the basin during the second quarter to continue delineation activity.
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