Noble Energy (NBL) held a conference call on October 28, 2010, to discuss earnings and other information for the third quarter of 2010. The company made extensive comments on its activities in the Niobrara Shale, where the company is one of the leaders in developing this liquids rich play. Noble Energy has built up its acreage in four separate areas in the Niobrara Shale.
“We view the horizontal Niobrara program in four distinct parts. First off is the core Wattenberg where a substantial amount of vertical development have taken place over the years and we’re now identifying locations for additional horizontal wells. The horizontal potential in the Wattenberg core was highlighted earlier this year by our Gemini well success and we expect to drill more Gemini type wells by the end of the year.”
“The second area is on the Northern and Eastern edges of Wattenberg where we’re focusing on expanding the economic limits of the field. A large portion of our horizontal drilling to-date has been in this area and we’ve been encouraged by flow rates with liquid contributions north of 70%.”
“Third is our position in Northern Colorado from the edges of Wattenberg basically up to the Wyoming border and the fourth area is our acreage in Southeastern Wyoming and Northwest, Weld County, Colorado. Overall, we should be adding two horizontal rigs to the DJ Basin next year and we expect to drill more than double the number of horizontal wells in 2011 than we will drill this year.”
“In our third Niobrara Shale focus area, Northern Colorado, we have drilled and completed four wells around the Grover area. The first two wells we’re targeting quiet areas identified on the 3D where we are testing metrics contribution. Despite the lack of natural fractures, initial 24-hour rates were 500 to 600 barrels of oil equivalent per day with around 85% oil contribution.”
“Our third and fourth wells were a few miles to the east in an area with more natural fractures. They were recently completed and are cleaning up after stimulation.
"In the fourth area of focus in Southeast Wyoming, we are now drilling our second of three wells, combining 3D seismic data with core and log information gained from vertical monitoring wells, all of which will help in evaluating this portion of the play. The first horizontal well was fracture-stimulated this week.”