Green River Formation Oil Shale - Green River Basin Oil Shale - Wyoming, Utah, Colorado

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Green River Basin Oil Shale Formation - Oil Field

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Location: The Green River Basin Oil Shale Field is located in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado which extends on the Western side of the rocky Mountains.  The main part of the Green River Basin Formation though, is located in the southwest portion of Wyoming in the middle of cities Evanston and Rock Springs.  To the East, there is also a portion called the Washakie Basin Wyoming which is also part of the Green River Oil Deposit.

The Utah portion of the Green River Basin Oil Shale Field is located in the Uinta Basin which is between cities Price and Vernal.

Lastly, the Colorado portion of the Green River Basin Oil Formation is located in the Piceance Creek Basin between cities Grand Junction and Rifle.  These two cities run north of the Colorado River.
Out of the Wyoming Oil Shale, Utah Oil Shale, and Colorado Oil Shale, the Colorado Oil Shale is expected to hold the greatest amount of Oil from Shale.  Specifically, the Piceance Creek Basin is the hot spot for oil shale in the Green River Formation.

History & Facts:  There are many places around the world where you can find Oil Shale.  The largest Oil Shale deposit though, is located right here in the United States of America.  The Green River Basin Formation is estimated to hold 1.30 - 2.0 Trillion Barrels of Oil from Oil Shale deposits.  Not all of this oil can be recovered.  Estimates for recoverable Oil in the Green River Basin is around 750 Billion Barrels of Oil from Oil Shale.  Did you know that this is three times more then the total oil reserves of Saudi Arabia?  Another fact:  The USA will use 20 million barrels of Oil in 2008 and that figure will increase every year.  Seventy percent of the USA's oil consumption comes from other countries and this number will shoot to eighty-five percent by 2012.  The problem; it may take 10 years for us to get production on a full commercial scale.
Eighty Percent of the locations that contain oil shale in the Green River Basin are federally owned.  Back in 1930 the government tagged this land as federal territory knowing what was under the ground.  They basically put this oil shale rich land away for a rainy day.  Although it is starting to drizzle with $130 oil, the real downpours, I think,  will start in the next few years when Oil pushes closer to $200 per barrel.  The Bureau of Land Management ( BLM ) has been leasing out permits though.   Back in late 2006, the Bureau of Land Management in Colorado issued five oil shale leases for research projects.  These leases, which are still ongoing, grant rights to develop oil shale on 160 acre plots for ten years.  These leases can also be extended.  There is estimated to have been over 3,000 wells being drilled already.  Shell oil company is actually working on an experiment called the freeze wall which creates a barrier around the drilling area under ground so nothing would be contaminated. This freeze project started in early 2007 and will end around 2010-2012.  A system will also pump out the water from the drilling area of the Shell Oil Freeze Wall.  The freeze wall zone is about the size of a football field and is located in Rio Blanco County, Colorado. However, Shell is not allowed to develop the property, it is only for testing purposes.
From the IDT CEO: The reason Shell is not being allowed to develop the property that is in production already is because they are having a problems with the environment. Part of the problem with the environmentalists has to do with the fact that there is an aquifer. It is  half way down. When you get down to the Shale Oil there is water that provides drinking water in Western Colorado. Shell is working above the aquifer; what they do is pump out the water from below from where  they are working and they freeze, they create a freeze wall so that  water cannot get in. The water, if any oil drips down, the water is not polluted with it. Once they remove the heat from the rock and extract the oil and things have cooled down, they unfreeze the water and it goes back and everything is clean. The environmentalists are also well concerned that what if something happens to the freeze wall and what if it doesn’t work and the water comes in, there will be oil drops afterwards, a million concerns which I don’t really think are legitimate. I think Shell has all sorts of extra layers of protection to ensure that that won’t happen.
Companies with Federal Contracts:    Four companies have federal contracts to do expletory work on that land; Chevron, Shell, IDT and OSEC. OSEC is really in Utah and they really have a contract to do above ground retorting, which is something that’s been done for long time in places like Estonia, which just received a huge investment from Petrobras and Mitsui and we wish them well. The real heart of getting the oil out is something called in-situ retorting; which means heating the ground, heating the rock, that has this thing called kerogen in it.  The kerogen is converted to oil and is stored in a heater of up to 700 degrees.
Wildlife:  The Green River Basin Area is rich in history and wildlife.  The Green River Valley is home to the largest Mule Deer Herd on the United States.  You can also find Sage Grouse here which are already running low. Some say if energy companies come in at full force, you can kiss these animals goodbye.  Heavy traffic, new roads, new drilling wells, air pollution, and contaminated water are feared for these animals not to mention the good trout they are found in the water.
As you can see, there are many sides to this story.  Do we drill for oil in the Green River Formation area or do we try to find other ways to get off our addiction to oil.
Below is a list of companies that are currently exploring around the Green River Basin area.  Like I said before, not all of the Green River land is federally controlled.

- Devon Energy DVN - Devon Energy DVN is drilling in Washakie Basin in Wyoming - Moving to the Rockies, in the Washakie Basin in Wyoming, we had four rigs running for a good part of the quarter prior to the start of the wildlife stipulation season, and drilled a total of 34 wells during quarter. In the second quarter we plan to drill our first horizontal well in the field. Given our track record with horizontal drilling and the Barnett Shale in East Texas, we're eager to evaluate these results. Horizontal drilling could open up another leg of activity on Devon's 150,000 plus net acres at Washakie.

 - Shell Oil Company RDS - Today, Shell is researching new technologies to remove petroleum from oil shale fields in western Colorado. The project is known as the Mahogany Research Project.  Workers drill holes into the shale, then stick electrical heaters down into the holes. The heaters warm the rock gradually over a long period of time, causing the kerogen to be freed and rise to the surface.

- IDT Corporation IDT -  AMSO holds a Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) 10-year lease for 160 acres of federal government land in North Western Colorado. AMSO’s lease is located in the heart of the oil shale rich section of the Green River Formation.  AMSO is currently the only independent lease holder in Colorado, and one of only three companies that were awarded a lease, out of twenty applications submitted in the process.   Upon a successful demonstration of a commercially viable and environmentally sound shale oil extraction process, AMSO will have a preference right to an additional 4,960 acres of oil shale rich land, holding more than 10 billion barrels of oil.  IDT is the majority shareholder in AMSO.

- Cabot Oil & Gas COG -  Cabot is soon going to test parts of the Green River Basin - Cabot also plans to initiate in the Green River basin ,a test of Lewis shale potential and its lookout Wash field with a horizontal well to be spud in October. If this horizontal test is successful, we will set up an additional horizontal exploitation on about 7000 acres in the field. Cabot will have a working interest of 45% to 80% or so in this 7000-acre area. Again, this is our first horizontal effort in the Lewis shale in the Green River basin.

- Questar STR - Uinta Basin Natural Gas & Oil ( Green River Formation ) -   We have now also suspended oil directed drilling in the Uinta Basin a massive change since our last call when we told you we plan to drill at least 15 horizontal Green River wells in the Uinta Basin in '09.

The Unita basin properties, the big large contiguous block of 120,000 acres was originally developed back in the late 50s as an oil play. The Green River formation contains multiple stacked reservoirs that have been developed over the years by Gulf and Chevron and then more recently by us. Over 600 million barrels of oil in place just in the Red Wash field alone and less than 15% of that, in fact less than 12% of that has been recovered to date.

Anadarko Petroleum APCAnadarko Petroleum (APC) is an active driller in the Green River Basin - Greater Natural Buttes: Sales volumes for the quarter increased by 16% over the 2nd quarter of 2010 and by 12% over the 1st quarter of 2011. During the quarter, Anadarko achieved a single-day record of 507 MMcf/d of gross production.  Anadarko operated seven rigs and drilled 67 wells during the quarter. The deepening of new wells to the Blackhawk interval continues to enhance the economics of the field with incremental development costs of about $0.45 per thousand cubic feet equivalent (Mcfe). During the quarter, 11 wells were deepened and completed in the Blackhawk interval.  The company initiated construction on a major plant expansion designed to increase Anadarko’s cryogenic processing capacity to 500 MMcf/d from its current capacity of 250 MMcf/d.  A large-scale water gathering system has been put in place that is expected to reduce lease operating expenses by about $4 million annually and reduce truck traffic by more than 73,000 miles per year.  The U.S. Department of the Interior recently recognized Anadarko for working cooperatively with BLM and EPA leadership during the process of drafting an environmental impact statement. This was a significant step forward in the infill development of this area, which offers tremendous resource potential with more than 6,000 identified drill sites and sustained economic growth for the region.

GREATER GREEN RIVER BASIN - The company has participated in 185 wells in the Pinedale field during 2011, with 10 non-operated rigs currently running.

Gasco Energy (GSX) - Green River Oil Well Completion Operations
As previously announced, during Q1-12 Gasco successfully completed two Green River Formation oil wells, the Federal #34-19 and the Federal #23-30. The wells are on artificial lift and continue to produce oil as expected. The Company expects to drill additional Green River oil wells during the second half of 2012. As previously announced, the wells had seven-day average initial production rates of 67 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) and 50 BOPD, respectively. After nearly 90 days on production, the wells have averaged approximately 21 and 15 BOPD and both have now stabilized at approximately these same average rates.

Map of Green River Formation - Oil Shale

EOG Resources  EOG -  EOG Resources is drilling in Colorado and the Uinta Basin Green River Basin -  In the Colorado North Park Basin area, due to seasonal drilling restrictions, we don't have additional results from the oil play at this time but our operations in this area continue.  Our other big resource play is the Vernal vertical Wasatch/Mesa development area in the Uinta Basin where we are running eight rigs and continue to get excellent results. Like all Rockies producers, we are trying to assess the impact of the September Rex pipeline curtailment. At this time we believe we can get our volumes moved but the basis differential will widen temporarily. Update:  In the Uinta and Green River Basins we expect to drill 109 wells this year ( 2009 ) versus 271 wells in 2008

AMSO Green River Formation Map
Green River Oil Shale Map

Bill Barrett Corp BBG - Uinta Basin, Utah

Uinta Oil Program (Blacktail Ridge, Lake Canyon, East Bluebell and South Altamont) – Current net production is approximately 4,100 barrels of oil equivalent per day ("Boe/d"). The Company currently has three drilling rigs operating in the area and plans to add two more rigs by the end of this month. The Company expects to drill up to 74 gross/47 net operated wells in the area in 2012, plus participate in approximately 45 wells operated by its partner in Lake Canyon. During 2011, the Company significantly expanded its reserve base in the area and successfully tested the Uteland Butte formation with seven horizontal wells. During 2012, the Company seeks to increase recoveries and optimize development of this vast, oil-rich resource base. During the year, the Company will continue its vertical development program and its horizontal Uteland Butte program. The Company also plans to test horizontally the Black Shale and Wasatch formations, to test vertically the Mahogany formation and has received initial approval for 80-acre pilot wells to test increased density. Also during the first quarter of 2012, the Company continued to expand its acreage position in the area, adding more than 9,600 net undeveloped acres on predominantly fee lands.

At March 31, 2012, the Company had an approximate 68% working interest in production from 143 gross wells. Depending upon elections to participate by partners, the Company expects to have an average 50% working interest in its 2012 drilling program. The per well working interests for the 2012 program range from 19% to 100%.

Berry Petroleum (BRY) - Berry Petroleum (BRY) Uinta Basin - Production from the Company's Uinta properties was flat during the quarter, averaging 5,430 BOE/D. In the first quarter, the Company drilled 15 gross Uinta wells, all of which targeted higher oil potential areas, with a focus on drilling commingled Green River / Wasatch wells. The Green River / Wasatch wells we have recently completed are encouraging, with oil comprising approximately 80% of the production."

Samson Oil & Gas (SSN) - Lookout Wash Field - Samson 18.2% Working Interest - The Lookout Wash Field is currently producing from 20 wells and is located in the Washakie Basin, which is also part of the Greater Green River Basin. This field produces principally from a stratigraphic trap of the Cretaceous Almond Bar sandstone. Geologic mapping has suggested that this unit can be developed further as a thick porous reservoir extends to the north of the existing well development. Eight new probable well locations have been determined as a result of this new mapping; however only four are carried on the Ryder Scott reserves report.
Average production during this quarter was down slightly from last quarter at a gross rate of 3.6 MMcf/D.

Jonah Field

Samson 21% Working Interest in 240 acres - The Jonah Field is located in the northern part of the Green River Basin and is one of the largest discoveries in recent decades in continental USA and has produced in excess of 1.0 trillion cubic feet of gas since production commenced in 1992. Development of this field has resulted from the application of advanced fracture stimulation techniques. The field has undergone several iterations of development with some sections of the field currently being developed on a 10 acre well spacing. The current well spacing is around 20 acres.
The field produces from a series of stacked reservoirs within the Cretaceous Mesaverde and Lance Formations. The field is trapped between two faults forming a wedge shaped field.
Average production from the field during this quarter was at a gross rate of 2.1 MMcf/D. The rate is declining in line with the reserve production forecast.

Newfield Exploration  NFX -  Newfield Exploration NFX is active in the Green River Formation, specifically in the Uinta Basin - Uinta Basin – Newfield plans to invest about one-third of its total capital budget in 2012, or about $500 million, toward the development of its assets in the Uinta Basin. The Company today owns interest in approximately 230,000 net acres in the Uinta Basin, where drilling is focused on the development of known oil targets and the assessment of emerging vertical and horizontal high-potential oil plays. Current net production in the Uinta Basin is a record 24,000 BOEPD. Production from the Uinta Basin is expected to grow about 20% over 2011 levels.

Four of the Company's seven operated rigs in the region are drilling in the Central Basin -- an area adjacent and immediately north of the Greater Monument Butte Unit. The Company recently commenced production from a record vertical Wasatch well, which had initial gross production of nearly 2,500 BOEPD and has averaged more than 2,100 BOEPD gross over its first 10 days of production. Excluding this record well, the most recent seven wells each averaged initial gross production of nearly 900 BOEPD. The Company's first two horizontal Wasatch tests are currently drilling with results expected around mid-year.

The Company expects to drill about 60 wells in the Central Basin in 2012, of which more than 20 wells are expected to be horizontal tests. Although five less gross wells than earlier expectations, the Company's planned wells in 2012 have a higher working interest. The Company's first two horizontal tests of the pressured Uteland Butte formation have been drilled and are in various stages of completion.

Quiksilver Resources KWK - Quicksilver has added approximately 145,000 gross (77,000 net) acres to its existing acreage holdings in the Greater Green River Basin of northern Colorado and southern Wyoming. The company now has approximately 140,000 net acres in the basin, which it believes to be prospective for both oil and natural gas in the Niobrara formation. The company anticipates drilling two exploratory wells on this acreage in 2011.

Harvest Natural Resources  HNR - Lower Green River/Upper Wasatch Oil Delineation and Development Project

A second project has also been pursued in the Bar F exploration well. After completion of the initial testing program on the Mesaverde deep gas as described above, we moved uphole in the same well to test multiple oil bearing intervals at depths from 8,200 feet to 9,500 feet in the Lower Green River and Upper Wasatch formations. Operational activities during the three months ended March 31, 2010 included preparing the well for the oil zone tests, hydraulic fracturing of six separate oil bearing intervals, and conducting flow testing of the fractured intervals. Results of the testing have been positive and we believe the results indicate that we have made a commercial oil discovery in the Lower Green River and Upper Wasatch formations. The well has been flowing naturally on extended test since March 24, 2010, with initial rates of approximately 900 BOPD of 42 degree API oil. As of April 30, 2010, the well had produced in excess of 18,000 gross barrels of oil since the commencement of the flow test, with the oil being sold in the Salt Lake City, Utah market. Work is currently in progress to design and install permanent production facilities to enable the well to be placed on permanent production during the second quarter of 2010.

Our Board of Directors has authorized a five-well Lower Green River/Upper Wasatch delineation and development drilling program (Lower Green River/Upper Wasatch) which is planned to take place beginning in the third quarter of 2010 at a capital cost of $13.5 million (net to Harvest). This five-well program would further delineate and appraise the extent of the Lower Green River/Upper Wasatch discovery made in the Bar F, and is also expected to establish additional production from the Lower Green River/Upper Wasatch reservoirs in at least some of the five appraisal wells. The Lower Green River and Upper Wasatch formations are productive in the Altamont/Bluebell oil field approximately six miles north of the Bar F well. During the three months ended March 31, 2010, we incurred $2.0 million in lease acquisition, drilling, completion and testing activities. We plan to develop an estimate of reserves accessed by the Bar F well during second quarter of 2010, incorporating the results of the flow testing and initial phases of permanent production operation of the well.

Monument Butte Extension Appraisal and Development Project

The Monument Butte Extension Appraisal and Development Project (Monument Butte Extension) was initiated with an eight-well appraisal and development drilling program to produce oil and natural gas from the Green River formation on the southern portion of our Antelope land position. The Monument Butte Extension is non-operated and we hold a 43 percent working interest in the initial eight wells. The parties participating in the wells formed a 320 acre AMI which contained the initial eight drilling locations. Operational activities during the three months ended March 31, 2010 on the Monument Butte Extension focused on drilling and completion activities on the original eight-well program. As of March 31, 2010, all eight wells have been drilled. As of April 30, 2010, seven of the eight wells are currently on production. The remaining well has been completed and production is pending expansion of the fluid handling capacity in the surface production system to accommodate the unexpectedly high fluid production volumes from the eight-well program. As of April 30, 2010, the seven producing wells have produced 52,000 barrels of oil (net to Harvest). The seven wells combined are currently producing 400 BOPD (net to Harvest). During the three months ended March 31, 2010, we incurred $2.4 million in well costs. There is no remaining 2010 budget for the initial eight-well program.

Our Board of Directors has authorized five additional Monument Butte Extension appraisal and development wells planned to be drilled beginning in the third quarter of 2010. The estimated gross drilling and completion cost per well is $0.9 million, and Harvest will have an approximate 32 percent working interest in the five wells. This five-well expansion program is a follow up to the successful completion of the initial eight-well program that was drilled in late 2009 and early 2010. The expansion is planned to occur on acreage immediately adjacent to the initial eight-well program. The 2010 budget for this five well program is $4.5 million (gross).

Colorado - Piceance Basin - Holds a large area of Natural Gas.
Pinedale Field:

- Delta Petroleum DPTR - Delta DPTR has been drilling for natural gas in Colorado.  This definitely allows for the idea that our Piceance properties hold well in excess of 2 trillion cubic feet equivalent of reserve potential with a corresponding opportunity to experience substantial annual reserve growth through our increased drilling activities.  I’ll also go ahead and address a couple of comments that we saw this morning related to production growth at the Piceance Basin. The number that we have in there today is 44 million cubic feet equivalent which is a net number for the Piceance Basin. The gross number related to that interest is approximately 55 million cubic feet a day net.


- Questar STR - Questar is drilling in the Rockies, at Pinedale -  The third highlight from 2008 was the BLM's record of decision in September of last year, which will allow us to optimize development of this world class asset over the next decade. There is arguably no other E&P asset like Pinedale, it maybe the most concentrated unconventional natural gas resource in the world stack pay across a 5,000 foot gross enabled low risk with lower F&D cost than many other major resource play in the U.S. today.

Even at today's poor Rockies prices we earn returns on Pinedale development that are greater than our cost of capital. The Pinedale record of decision was five years in the making and it demonstrates what our industry can do; what we can get done when we listen to public concerns and then tap the ingenuity and creativity of the people in this business to find solutions to those concerns.

In 2009 we are shifting capital to our higher margin, higher return plays at Pinedale and the Haynesville shale. We plan to run nine rigs at Pinedale in '09, that's unchanged from our October plan; with that level of activity we expect to drill and complete 93 to 95 wells at Pinedale day in '09 as discussed in our last call, Questar E&P has suspended all other gas directed drilling in the Rockies.  STR also drilled a Pinedale well in record time, 18 days for a Horizontal well.

Nobel Energy  NBL -  Nobel Energy ( NBL ) is active in the Rockies Piceance Basin -  Piceance Basin— The Piceance basin in western Colorado (approximately 96 percent operated working interest) is another rapidly growing area for Noble Energy. During 2007, the Company added 10,500 net acres, increasing its position to nearly 19,000 net acres. Operational plans are to drill over 100 wells during 2008, with an estimated exit rate for production of approximately 60 million cubic feet per day, net. Efficiencies in drilling continue to evolve in the play, and the Company has begun utilizing ‘Fit For Purpose’ rigs in the basin that are capable of drilling up to 18 wells per pad, with simultaneous drilling and completion activities. Update -   Onshore in the US we have been careful in moving capital around. When you look at the Rockies, Wattenberg is a solid asset and very low cost with a good balance of both liquids as well as natural gas, and we are also continuing to get our costs down there. In the Piceance and Tri-State areas, we have pulled rigs down in response to the market. Our acreage there is well positioned, was acquired at very low cost, and it isn't going anywhere. So we will be back in the market looks more in our favor.

Ultra Petroleum  UPL - Wyoming - Operational Highlights - Ultra Petroleum - During the first quarter 2011, Ultra Petroleum participated in drilling 59 gross (32 net) Lance wells. To date, Ultra and its partners have drilled 1,512 gross wells across the Anticline since 1999. There are more than 5,000 wells remaining to be drilled in the field. The total number of rig-days Ultra-operated rigs were active in Pinedale during the first quarter decreased to 695, compared to 749 during the same period in 2010. This metric is meaningful considering the company drilled 11 percent more operated wells in the first quarter with 7 percent fewer rig-days.

For the first quarter of 2011, Ultra and its partners brought on production 57 gross (35 net) wells. The average initial production rate for these wells was 6.8 million cubic feet (MMcf) per day.

Ultra continues to improve upon previous records set in number of days to drill. The number of days to drill an Ultra-operated well, measured by spud to total depth (TD), averaged less than 13 days during the first quarter. This record low for Ultra compares to an earlier milestone in the first quarter of 2010 of 16 days per well spud to TD, a 19 percent improvement. During the first quarter on a year-over-year basis, Ultra nearly doubled the number of wells drilled in less than 15 days, spud to TD. Furthermore, 91 percent of all operated wells drilled in the first quarter 2011 reached TD in 15 days or less. Total days per well, measured by rig-release to rig-release, decreased 16 percent to 16.5 days in the first quarter compared to 19.7 days during the prior-year period. Continued efficiencies are important to offsetting cost increases due to increased demand from service companies. Due to these sustained efficiencies, completed well costs for the first quarter 2011 averaged $4.8 million per well.

Bill Barrett Corp BBG - Piceance Basin, Colorado

Gibson Gulch – Current net production is approximately 130 MMcfe/d. The Company plans to operate two rigs in the area through 2011 with an approximate 100 well program. The Company continues to benefit from its election to process the majority of its Gibson Gulch natural gas production, which exposes the Company to natural gas liquids pricing. The incremental benefit to production revenues related to natural gas liquids increased to $1.23 per Mcfe to the Company-wide realized price in the second quarter of 2011, up as a result of higher per gallon realized liquids pricing. Gibson Gulch operations offer strong margins due to low operating costs and the currently higher revenues related to liquids. The program continues to be a key, lower risk development area for the Company.

At June 30, 2011, the Company had an approximate 98% working interest in production from 765 gross wells in its Gibson Gulch program.

Cottonwood Gulch – The status of the Company’s Cottonwood Gulch acquisition remains unchanged. In June 2009, the Company acquired a 90% working interest in 40,300 gross undeveloped acres in Cottonwood Gulch. The leases were challenged in Federal District Court by environmental groups and resolution of the case is currently pending with a District Court judge.

Cottonwood Gulch – In June 2009, the Company acquired a 90% working interest in 40,300 gross undeveloped acres in Cottonwood Gulch. The leases were challenged in Federal District Court by environmental groups. Resolution of the case is currently pending with a District Court judge. The Company is working with stakeholders to pursue this opportunity pending resolution.

Encana ECA - We've had some excellent results so far this year in the Piceance Basin. Second quarter 2010 average production was 470 MMcfe/d, about 29% higher than at this time last year. Our capacity reduced production from 2009 came back online better than expected, and many of the Piceance wells that we've recently completed are performing above expectations. As a result, we have increased our 2010 average production guidance by 40 MMcfe/d.

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