Niobrara Shale to Reach 350,000 b/d in 2016, Overwhelm Pipelines

Friday, September 23, 2011

While the Niobrara shale, an emerging unconventional play in the Rocky Mountains, won't pack the punch of the Bakken, it could develop into a 350,000 b/d producer of crude by 2016, an industry expert said Friday.

And the projected 200% growth over five years from the play's current 112,000 b/d is likely to overwhelm projected pipeline capacity, leaving an eventual overhang of between 6,000 b/d and 46,000 b/d, depending on logistical arrangements, Adam Bedard, a senior director with Bentek Energy said at the Platts sixth annual Pipeline Development and Expansion conference in Houston. Bentek is a unit of Platts, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

The play straddles the Colorado and Wyoming borders and lies within the Denver-Julesburg basin. Chesapeake, EOG, Noble, and Anadarko are the most active of the 14 operators in the region, which has 425 wells drilled to date.

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