The Niobrara oil reserve is rapidly becoming one of the fastest growing resources for oil in the United States. Stretching from Canada to New Mexico, the best areas for drilling have proven to be in Denver and southeastern Wyoming. Exploration is booming as drillers dig anywhere from 3,000 to 7,000 feet beneath the earths surface to reach the oil.
Innovations in drilling techniques have made this region finally accessible. New techniques such as horizontal drilling and multi-state hydraulic fracturing have converted this formation into an economically viable resource.
The black gold rush began in 2009 when ground was broken on The Jake Oil Well, which lies near the Wyoming border. The Jake Oil Well produced about 5 times more than the average well in the United States. It produces approximately 1,500 barrels per day. The second most productive well was the Noble’s Gemini well, which generated about 1,100 barrels a day for it’s first 60 days of operation.
Companies like Geokinetics have been hired to test rock samples in an effort to verify which areas of the Niobrara will yield the best results. The key is in the rock surrounding the oil. It needs to be porous enough to hold the oil, yet permeable enough to give the oil up when it is tapped. Lab tests and analysis will help companies determine which part of the 8,400 square mile area is wisest to invest in. Finally, many oil rich areas of the Niobrara lay merely 30 miles from Denver International Airport. The relatively easy accessibility to these reserves increases the profitability for companies that invest in the region.