Noble Energy (NBL) issued an update on the company’s second quarter of 2011 operations in the Rocky Mountains area, where the company is developing the Niobrara Shale.
Noble Energy increased its 2011 capital budget by $300 million and will use part of the funds to increase development of the Niobrara Shale. The company will now drill 85 horizontal wells here, up 20% from the original plan.
Noble Energy is focused on the Wattenberg field where the company has 400,000 net acres under lease. The company estimates that it has 600 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) of potential resources based on 2,000 drilling locations.
Noble Energy is operating 12 rigs (8 vertical, 4 horizontal) and plans to add a fifth horizontal rig in August 2011. Noble Energy said that the last twelve Niobrara wells had an average 24 hour production rate of 835 BOE per day and more than 600 BOE per day during the first thirty days. The company said that these production rates are up by 10% to 15% from earlier wells.
Noble Energy reported that current gross production from the Niobrara Shale is 10,000 BOE per day. The company recently drilled a well with a 9,100 foot lateral and forty fracturing stages, a record for the play.