BOBBY MAGILL

Journalist • Photographer

Bobby Magill is a senior science writer for Climate Central in New York and a journalist who has covered fracking and the environment in Colorado and New Mexico since 2001. 

Anadarko, Noble Energy to transform oil development in Northern Colorado

Last week, I wrote a story (PDF) in the Fort Collins Coloradoan about Anadarko Petroleum's announcement that they plan to drill up to 2,700 new oil wells in the Niobrara and Codell formations in the Wattenberg Field northeast of Denver. Here's the gist of the story:

Anadarko announced Nov. 14 it has plans to drill between 1,200 and 2,700 horizontal oil wells into the Niobrara shale and Codell formation in the Wattenberg Field, with expectations to produce up to 1.5 billion barrels of oil.

The only other oil play of that magnitude was the Rangely Field in northwest Colorado, which began producing oil in the 1940s.

The company has access to hundreds of thousands of acres of land in Weld County and along Larimer County's eastern border. So far, Anadarko's exploration has been limited to 11 horizontal wells drilled in southwest Weld County, which have been producing between 300 and 1,100 barrels of oil per day, according to Anadarko's announcement Monday.

If Anadarko drills the number of wells it's projecting, it will make oil and gas the primary driver of industry in Northern Colorado, said Mark Snead, an energy economist and the vice president of the Denver branch of the Federal Reserve Bank.

 

Now, Noble Energy, one of the biggest players in developing the Niobrara in northern Weld County, is getting into the act, according to the Denver Business Journal.

Noble plans to invest $8 billion into drilling north of Denver over the next five years — in an area that's already one of the most productive oil fields in Colorado.

I'll be interested to learn how this will affect the Front Range's air and water quality.