WPX Energy increases Piceance basin drilling

WPX Energy Inc. plans to add two drilling rigs in western Colorado’s Piceance basin for the rest of 2013, making a total of seven compared with earlier plans for a five-rig drilling plan.

The additional drilling this year will target the Williams Fork formation where WPX has developed more than 4,100 tight sands wells. The company has drilled a Williams Fork well in 3.7 days.

“Natural gas prices are stronger, and this helps lay the groundwork for our 2014 development,” said Ralph A. Hill, WPX president and chief executive officer.

WPX plans to spend $60 million to add two rigs this year. The increase falls within WPX’s 2013 budget of $1-1.2 billion.

“We have everything in place…to be among the first and fastest to increase our production,” in the Piceance, Hill said. “We have the permits, favorable processing contracts, take-away transportation capacity,” and large-scale, efficient operations.

As previously announced, WPX continues to plan to drill four horizontal Niobrara wells in the Piceance formation during 2013 to begin delineation of the company’s Niobrara discovery (OGJ Online, Jan. 23, 2013).

Over its first 150 days, WPX’s Niobrara discovery well has produced 1.25 bcf. The well currently produces 5.5 MMcfd at a flowing tubing pressure of about 3,000 psi.

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