Niobrara Oil Shale

Niobrara Shale AcreageThe Niobrara Shale is an emerging oil play in the Rockies that is being pioneered by many of the same companies who were leaders in developing the Barnett, Haynesville, Marcellus and Bakken shales. With established Niobrara oil and gas production in many areas of the Rockies from older vertical wells, advanced horizontal drilling and completion methods are now being utilized. In Wyoming, the Niobrara has been notably productive for years at Teapot Dome, Silo field and Salt Creek.

The industry’s early leasing and drilling activities have been focused on the DJ and Powder River Basins. EOG and Chesapeake have been leaders in the Rockies’ Niobrara plays. Other independents have acquired over 1.5 million acres, and drilling is ramping up in these basins.

Escalera Resources owns over 99,000 gross and 73,000 net acres in Niobrara Oil window. The Company’s acreage includes 37,000 net acres in the Atlantic Rim area, 11,000 acres in the DJ Basin of Wyoming and Nebraska, 16,000 net acres in the Powder River Basin and 9,000 net acres in the Laramie/Hanna Basin. Under the Company’s Atlantic Rim acreage, the depth of the Niobrara ranges from 4,000’ to 10,000’, while its thickness varies up to approximately 1,500’.

Activity is picking up near Escalera’s acreage in the Atlantic Rim area of Carbon County, Wyoming, where there are three older fields that have each cumulatively produced over 1 million barrels from the Niobrara.  A study by the USGS indicates that that this area of Wyoming could contain more than twice as much oil as the DJ Basin. The map below shows that numerous companies are now involved in the play.

Of particular significance to Escalera is drilling scheduled to the south of Escalera’s Niobrara well. Under a farmout agreement with Entek Energy Limited, GRMR Oil and Gas, LLC ( an affiliate of East Resources), plans to drill three horizontal wells in the second half of 2014 in the Battle Mountain unit, shown in light yellow on the map. To the south of Entek’s acreage, Southwestern Energy Company recently acquired over 300,000 net acres from Shell and Quicksilver Resources and expects to begin drilling around mid-2014.


For additional information regarding the Niobrara Formation, please refer to the below external link. (Please note that Escalera does not ensure the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in the site below.)

  1. US Geologic Study of the Niobrara Formation in Wyoming