RockTalk: Colorado’s New Oil Boom — the Niobrara

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Citation: Colorado Geological Survey. “RockTalk V13N01, RockTalk Colorado’s New Oil Boom — the Niobrara.” RockTalk, Spring 2011. Volume 13, Number 1.

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Digital PDF download. RT-13-01D

From the Introduction:

Niobrara shale oil is an exciting new hydrocarbon prospect for Colorado. Our resource-rich state, while having developed extensive natural gas reserves over the past couple of decades, is now in the process of ‘rediscovering’ its oil in organic-rich shale. The current economics of fossil fuels, combined with the development of new drilling and stimulation technologies, is driving this renaissance.

The Niobrara Formation, one such organic-rich shale, is a particularly hot target here in Colorado. While a large volume of natural gas (>700 billion cubic feet by one estimate) has already been produced, it is now Niobrara oil that is the focus of everyone’s attention. Often mentioned for comparison purposes are the Bakken Formation of North Dakota or the Eagle Ford Shale of Texas. But, as producers are just beginning to ramp up drilling and production, the question of how much oil is really available for exploitation over the long term remains to be answered.