Two-dozen companies currently drill in the expansive Niobrara formation, whose territory includes northeastern Colorado. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Noble Energy Inc. rank as the largest producers in the Niobrara, located in the Denver-Julesburg Basin.
Both companies have expanded their operations since drilling began in earnest in 2009.
Noble expanded its operations in Northern Colorado from 48,000 net acres to 230,000 net acres in just the first quarter of 2012 and recently finished construction on a new headquarters in Greeley. The company plans $8 billion in investment in the area over the next five years.
Anadarko has identified net resources of between 500 million and 1.5 billion barrels of oil-equivalent in the Wattenberg field. The company said this spring that it plans to add two rigs to the six it already operates in the Wattenberg field in Northern Colorado.
Other companies have expanded, as well. Early in the year, Halliburton announced plans to bring 500 jobs to the area with its sand terminal in the 1,800-acre Great Western Industrial Park near Windsor.
The activity also has led to plans to add pipeline and rail infrastructure, including a third railroad transload facility to ship oil. Pipeline giant Kinder Morgan is planning to convert a natural-gas pipeline that runs through the basin. The company expects the pipeline to begin service in 2014, “subject to customer commitments and required approvals.”
Oil and gas activity in Weld County in particular has outpaced other regions in the state with no signs of letting up. The state approved 2,262 drilling permits in Weld last year vs. 2,152 the year before.
Weld County also had the lion share of the more than 46,800 active wells in Colorado with more than 17,300 wells last year.
Amid all of this activity, oil and gas companies have faced intensifying opposition as they seek to expand their drilling. Front Range cities such as Erie, Longmont and Loveland all have passed moratoriums so that they can have time to consider new regulations.