Boulder, Colo., passes fracing moratorium

City council members in Boulder, Colo., unanimously approved a 1-year fracing moratorium on June 5, 2013, blocking drilling permits for the city as well as Boulder-owned open-space properties, according to the Denver Post. Several council members expressed interest in approving a longer term in November that would enact study sessions and public hearings, the paper reported. Boulder County's moratorium on new oil and gas applications was set to expire June 10, 2013. The city council arranged its vote as an emergency ordinance. The City Council also passed a measure prohibiting the use or sale of Boulder's water supply for fracing purposes, although this provision is still under review.

City Attorney Tom Carr determined a 1-year moratorium that addresses public health and safety concerns was the safest option to protect Boulder against potential lawsuits. Longmont, Colo., is currently defending itself against two lawsuits challenging its recent fracing ban, the report said.

Drilling activity updated for Piceance basin wells

WPX Energy plans to employ seven drilling rigs in western Colorado's Piceance basin for the remainder of the year. This is on the heels of its previous announcement for a five-rig plan. According to a company press release, WPX expects to add an incremental 1.9 bcfe of production through 2013, which will increase the basin's exit rate from 701 MMcfd to 730 MMcfd of gas-equivalent by year-end. The company expects to see benefits of the added drilling capacity in 2014, which could add up to 15 bcfe in additional cumulative production, the company said. The two additional rigs for 2013 account for $60 million in associated capital.

Selected targets for additional drilling activity will be the company's reserves in the Williams Fork formation, where it has developed more than 4,100 tight sands wells. It has achieved a record drilling time for a Williams Fork well in the Piceance Valley of 3.7 days. The company also plans to drill four horizontal Niobrara wells in the basin in 2013 to begin delineation of that discovery. The company's first Niobrara discovery produced 1.25 bcf of natural gas over its first 150 days.

Chama tests oil in Cheyenne County, Colo.

In May, the Chama Oil Pronghorn State #16-15-48-1-P in Cheyenne County, Colo., flowed more than 2,000 b/d of oil, according to the Denver Business Journal. The well is located two miles south of Kit Carson, Colo. According to data from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), the well's horizontal sidetracks were completed in the Pennsylvanian Morrow Group's-Keyes sandstone formation, and the Mississippian Spergen (Salem) and St. Louis limestone formations. COGCC records on this well are being held as confidential until Oct. 16, 2013. No proprietary information has been released by Chama Oil and Gas.

Pacific Energy drills two Niobrara wells

Pacific Energy Development Corp., Danville, Calif., has drilled two wells on its Niobrara holdings in northeastern Colorado. The 16-7-60 1H horizontal well in Weld County reached 6,260 ft total vertical depth with a total measured depth of 10,630 ft. The Wickstrom 18-2H horizontal well in Morgan County has been spudded and is targeted to reach to 6,100 ft total vertical depth with a total measured depth of 14,700 ft. The company currently has three producing wells on its Niobrara asset, which covers 10,224 gross acres in Weld and Morgan counties.

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