Reed A.Johnson, R. Timothy Bartshe Energy Foundation Inc. Lakewood, Colo Recent interest in U.S. horizontal drilling has largely focused on vertically fractured plays such as the Bakken shale and Austin chalk. The Upper Cretaceous Niobrara formation, the chronological equivalent of the Austin chalk, has recently been targeted as a candidate for horizontal drilling in the Denver basin and other areas of the Rocky Mountains. A primary key to success in such plays is to predict the occurrence and distribution of oil bearing fracture systems. Much emphasis is placed on theoretical aspects of fracture origin and prediction. ...

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