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Denver-Julesburg/DJ Basin Platform Data, History & State

This guide provides information about the Denver-Julesburg Basin Platform, oil and gas data, history, top operators, and other facts.

Overview

Denver-Julesburg Basin Oil and Gas

The Denver-Julesburg Basin (DJ Basin), often referred to as the DJ Basin or the Niobrara DJ Basin, is an important unconventional source rock play.

After the introduction of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies, the DJ Basin became one of the fastest-drilling major oil plays. Today, it’s the frontlines of consolidation, with most of the production operated by Oxy, Chevron, and Civitas.

Industry Consolidation: DJ Basin Takes the Lead

Consolidation has been a big theme since the pandemic, with the DJ Basin, home to the Niobrara play, now dominated by just three operators streamlining production and restructuring the competitive landscape.

What is the Niobrara DJ Basin?

The DJ Basin is a vast geological formation located in the western United States, stretching across primarily northeastern Colorado, southeastern Wyoming, and extending into parts of Nebraska and Kansas.

This extensive area, covering approximately 70,000 square miles (181,300 square kilometers), contains a wealth of geological features and abundant energy resources.

Horizontal Rig Count

The Denver-Julesburg Basin: History, Data and Facts

The oil production in the Denver-Julesburg (DJ) Basin began in the early 20th century when the region’s petroleum potential was first recognized.

When and how did it start?

Oil exploration and drilling activities in the DJ Basin started with traditional vertical drilling methods. These early endeavors aimed to tap into the basin’s conventional oil and gas reservoirs. However, a significant shift occurred in the 2010s when hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling technologies were introduced.

The combination of fracking and horizontal drilling allowed operators to reach deeper and access oil and natural gas resources that were previously economically impossible to extract.

Horizontal Well Daily Oil Production [bo/d]
Number of wells with reported production, by state

Top counties [March 2013 - March 2023]

Horizontal Well Daily Oil Production [bo/d] of the Top Counties
Ranking County State Horizontal Well Count - March 2023 Daily Production (bo/d) - March 2023
1 Weld Colorado 9,893 345,292
2 Adams (CO) Colorado 327 35,872
3 Laramie Wyoming 513 25,727
4 Broomfield Colorado 67 15,744
5 Arapahoe Colorado 128 11,065
6 Larimer Colorado 85 4,271
7 Jackson (CO) Colorado 62 2,212
8 Elbert (CO) Colorado 5 1,174
9 Goshen Wyoming 19 142
10 Morgan (CO) Colorado 5 15
11 Albany (WY) Wyoming 2 0
12 Boulder Colorado 1 0
13 Cheyenne (CO) Colorado 2 0
14 Lincoln (CO) Colorado 2 0
15 Platte (WY) Wyoming 2 0

Top 20 oil operators [March 2013 - March 2023] - wells by current operator

Horizontal Well Daily Oil Production [bo/d] of the Top 20 operators
Ranking Operator State Horizontal Well Count - March 2023 Daily Production (bo/d) - March 2023
1 Chevron Colorado 3,932 165,218
2 Civitas Resources Colorado 2,779 104,625
3 Occidental Colorado & Wyoming 2,549 59,788
4 Verdad Resources Colorado 276 27,841
5 Bayswater Colorado 278 21,517
6 Bison Oil & Gas IV Colorado & Wyoming 141 12,236
7 EOG Wyoming 277 8,302
8 North Silo Resources Wyoming 40 6,183
9 Samson Energy Wyoming 76 5,901
10 Bison Oil & Gas III Colorado 8 5,022
11 Providence Colorado 40 3,846
12 Fundare Resources Colorado 314 3,339
13 True Oil Colorado & Wyoming 19 2,905
14 Cub Creek Colorado 67 2,579
15 Fulcrum Energy Colorado 59 2,212
16 Petro Operating Colorado 39 1,974
17 Confluence Resources Colorado 24 1,500
18 GMT Exploration Colorado 5 1,174
19 Longs Peak Resources Colorado & Wyoming 11 918
20 Magpie Operating Colorado 11 871

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The Denver-Julesburg Basin Gas Production

When and how did it start?

Natural gas production in the Denver-Julesburg Basin (DJ Basin) began around the same time as oil production, in the early 1900s. Much like the initial stages of oil exploration, early gas production in the DJ Basin involved traditional drilling methods, primarily cable-tool drilling.

The early 20th century marked the beginning of natural gas exploration and development in the DJ Basin. Natural gas, often found alongside oil reservoirs, was initially considered a byproduct and sometimes even flared or vented off during oil drilling operations.

Advancements in drilling technology, similar to those that revolutionized oil production, also played a role in the growth of natural gas production in the DJ Basin.

Gas production over the last 10 years

Horizontal Well Daily Gas Production [Mcf/d]

Top counties [March 2013 - March 2023]

Horizontal Well Daily Gas Production [Mcf/d] of the Top Counties
Ranking County State Horizontal Well Count - March 2023 Daily Production (Mcf/d) - March 2023
1 Weld Colorado 9,893 2.596,235
2 Adams (CO) Colorado 327 129,877
3 Broomfield Colorado 67 71,002
4 Larimer Colorado 85 34,191
5 Laramie Wyoming 513 27,875
6 Arapahoe Colorado 128 21,078
7 Jackson (CO) Colorado 62 3,010
8 Elbert (CO) Colorado 5 1,975
9 Goshen Wyoming 19 205
10 Boulder Colorado 1 8
11 Albany (WY) Wyoming 2 0
12 Cheyenne (CO) Colorado 2 0
13 Lincoln (CO) Colorado 2 0
14 Morgan (CO) Colorado 5 0
15 Platte (WY) Wyoming 2 0

Top 20 natural gas operators [March 2013 - March 2023] - wells by current operator

Horizontal Well Daily Gas Production [Mcf/d] of the Top 15 Operators
Ranking Operator State Horizontal Well Count - March 2023 Daily Production (Mcf/d) - March 2023
1 Chevron Colorado 3,932 1.366,121
2 Occidental Colorado & Wyoming 2,549 663,949
3 Civitas Resources Colorado 2,779 563,055
4 Bayswater Colorado 278 67,768
5 Verdad Resources Colorado 276 55,724
6 Bison Oil & Gas IV Colorado & Wyoming 141 37,259
7 Cub Creek Colorado 67 26,437
8 Providence Colorado 40 19,912
9 Fundare Resources Colorado 314 17,253
10 EOG Wyoming 277 14,233
11 Confluence Resources Colorado 24 13,595
12 Petro Operating Colorado 39 10,892
13 North Silo Resources Wyoming 40 5,108
14 Samson Energy Wyoming 76 4,255
15 Bison Oil & Gas III Colorado 8 4,020
16 Fulcrum Energy Colorado 59 3,010
17 Magpie Operating Colorado 11 2,967
18 True Oil Colorado & Wyoming 19 1,967
19 Enerplus Colorado 15 1,061
20 Longs Peak Resources Colorado & Wyoming 11 869

Natural resources in the Denver-Julesburg Basin

The Denver-Julesburg Basin (DJ Basin) is not only rich in oil and natural gas but also holds significant natural resources. Within its geological formations lie substantial coal deposits and a range of valuable minerals such as clay, sand, gravel, and limestone.

The DJ Basin formations

the DJ Basin is home to several major geological formations, each with its own unique characteristics and significance. Here are some of the major formations found in the DJ Basin.

Major formations:

Pierre Shale

The Pierre Shale is a Cretaceous-age formation found in the DJ Basin. It is a dark-colored shale that represents a marine environment. This formation is known for its abundance of organic material, including fossilized marine life.

Niobrara

The Niobrara Formation in the DJ Basin is a major source of oil and gas. It is divided into multiple members, often called A, B, and C. The Niobrara is composed of chalky limestone and shale and is significant for its unconventional oil and gas resources.

Codell Sandstone Formation

The Codell Sandstone is part of the larger Carlile Shale and is known for its sandstone layers. In terms of hydrocarbon production, it is often targeted for its reservoir potential, particularly for oil.

Carlile Shale

The Carlile Shale is a Cretaceous formation that contains both shale and sandstone layers. It is an important formation in the DJ Basin, contributing to oil and gas production.

Greenhorn Limestone Formation

The Greenhorn Limestone is another Cretaceous-age formation present in the DJ Basin. It consists of limestone beds and is significant for its role in the overall stratigraphy of the region.

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