Industry Article: Drilling and Completing Niobrara Horizontal Wells Require Latest Technologies

What's Old is New Again
Publication: E&P
Publication Date: 05/01/2011

The Niobrara Formation has been drilled and produced for nearly 100 years, primarily with vertical wells that sought gas rather than oil. Operators continue to drill new vertical wells and refracture and restimulate older wells to increase production. Drilling to deeper zones also has occurred. During the past couple of years, horizontal drilling and large multistage fracture and stimulation jobs prevalent in other shale plays have been applied to the oil-rich Niobrara Formation.

Operators and service companies still are experimenting to develop the optimal Niobrara completion system, including fracture fluids and the most efficient fracturing and stimulation methods, whether it is plug-and-perf or sliding sleeve or, in the future, coiled tubing (CT).

Some of the completion methods in the Bakken play to the north of Niobrara have been applied to the Niobrara Formation. That is not necessarily the case for the exploration side of the equation due to significant faulting of the Niobrara Formation not experienced in the Bakken.

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