Abstract

The Denver-Julesburg (DJ) Basin has seen oil and gas production for more than a century. It is going through a new cycle of development with horizontal drilling and high-intensity hydraulic fracturing. Since the first horizontal wells in 2008 nearly 4,000 Niobrara and Codell horizontals have been drilled. While completion practices have remained fairly standard across the basin, production results vary wildly.

We utilized a high-quality digital log dataset to accurately characterize reservoir quality in the Niobrara and Codell formations in the DJ Basin. The final dataset included 562 digital logs spread across the current extent of horizontal drilling in the DJ Basin. A petrophysical workflow was developed and detailed mapping of the reservoir attributes was completed. The log derived parameters, along with an aeromagnetic and vitrinite reflectance dataset, provided excellent insight into which geologic parameters could be best tied to well production response.

Through bivariate and multivariate analyses using reservoir and completion data, and an economic evaluation to determine the "best bang for your buck", we have identified several completion changes for the basin that result in a significant reduction in the cost per bbl of oil produced. While geological parameters have been found to matter greatly for the production success of DJ horizontals, completions matter as well.

The high GOR areas of Inner Core Wattenberg benefit most from jobs with more proppant, whereas areas with poorer reservoir quality generally benefit from higher stage intensity and jobs with larger fluid volumes. All suggested completion changes have a major impact on lowering $/boe over the long term and result in lowering incremental cost per incremental boe within a period of only 365 producing days in the current low oil price environment.

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