BEFORE THE OIL AND GAS CONSERVATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF COLORADO

IN THE MATTER OF THE PROMULGATION AND ESTABLISHMENT OF FIELD RULES TO GOVERN OPERATIONS IN THE WATTENBERG FIELD,
WELD COUNTY, COLORADO

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CAUSE NO. 407

ORDER NO. 407-583

REPORT OF THE COMMISSION

The Commission heard this matter on April 16, 2012, in Suite 801, The Chancery Building, 1120 Lincoln Street, Denver, Colorado, upon application for an order to establish nine approximate 640-acre drilling and spacing units and one approximate 1280-acre drilling and spacing unit for Sections 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 22, 32, 33 and 34, Township 6 North, Range 61 West, 6th P.M., and authorize drilling up to four horizontal wells within each unit, for the production of oil, gas and associated hydrocarbons from the Niobrara Formation.

FINDINGS

The Commission finds as follows:

1.         Marathon Oil Company ("Marathon” or “Applicant”), as applicant herein, is an interested party in the subject matter of the above-referenced hearing.

2.         Due notice of the time, place and purpose of the hearing has been given in all respects as required by law.

3.         The Commission has jurisdiction over the subject matter embraced in said Notice, and of the parties interested therein, and jurisdiction to promulgate the hereinafter prescribed order pursuant to the Oil and Gas Conservation Act.

4.         On April 27, 1998, the Commission adopted Rule 318A., the Greater Wattenberg Well Location Rule (“GWA” Rule), which, among other things, allowed certain drilling locations to be utilized to drill or twin a well, deepen a well or recomplete a well and to commingle any or all of the Cretaceous Age Formations from the base of the Dakota Formation to the surface.  Pursuant to Rule 318A.k., Rule 318A. supersedes all prior Commission drilling and spacing orders affecting well location and density requirements of Greater Wattenberg Area wells. Sections 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 22, 32, 33 and 34, Township 6 North, Range 61 West, 6th P.M. are subject to Rule 318A., for the production of oil, gas and associated hydrocarbons from the Niobrara Formation.

5.         On February 16, 2012, Marathon Oil Company ("Marathon” or “Applicant”), by its attorneys, filed with the Commission pursuant to § 34-60-116 C.R.S., a verified application (“Application”) (amended on March 16, 2012) for an order to establish nine approximate 640-acre drilling and spacing units and one approximate 1280-acre drilling and spacing unit for the below-described lands (“Application Lands”), and authorize drilling up to four horizontal wells within each unit, for the production of oil, gas and associated hydrocarbons from the Niobrara Formation, with the treated interval of the permitted wellbore(s) to be located no closer than 460 feet from the boundaries of the proposed units, without exception being granted by the Director:

Township 6 North, Range 61 West, 6th P.M.         (640-acre units)
Section 5:         All
Section 6:         All
Section 9:         All
Section 15:       All
Section 16:       All
Section 22:       All
Section 32:       All
Section 33:       All
Section 34:       All

Township 6 North, Range 61 West, 6th P.M.         (1280-acre unit)
Section 12:       All
Section 13:       All

6.         On April 3, 2012, Marathon, by its attorneys, filed with the Commission a written request to approve the Application based on the merits of the verified Application and the supporting exhibits. Sworn written testimony and exhibits were submitted in support of the Application.

7.         Land testimony and exhibits in support of the Amended Application by Tricia Clarke, Land Professional for Marathon, showed the Applicant has either fully or partially leased the mineral interests in each section of the Application Lands, that the Application Lands are both State and private fee leases, and that all interested parties received notice of the Amended Application.


8.         Geologic testimony and exhibits in support of the Amended Application by Ugo Odumah, Petroleum Geologist for Marathon, showed the Niobrara Formation underlies most of the DJ Basin in eastern Colorado, southeastern Wyoming, and western Nebraska.  An isopach map of the Niobrara Formation showed total thickness of the Niobrara Formation ranges from 234’ to 305’ in the Application Lands.  A type log for the Niobrara Formation showed that it consists of two members, the Smoky Hill Chalk and the Fort Hayes Limestone.  A stratigraphic cross-section, zigzagging across the Application Lands, showed the Niobrara Formation to be consistent, continuous, and underlying all the Application Lands as a common source of supply.


9.         Engineering testimony and exhibits in support of the Amended Application by Tara Watson, Reservoir Engineer for Marathon, showed analysis of a number of wells within the Application Lands demonstrated a range of estimated ultimate recovery (“EUR”) values from 40 to 472 MBO; a range of original oil-in-place (“OOIP”), at a 5% recovery factor, from 794 to 9,446 MBO; and a drainage area ranging from 46 to 534 acres, with an average of 177 acres. The Silo field, north of the Application Lands in southern Wyoming, is a major field producing from the Niobrara Formation.  EUR and drainage estimates (which vary from 29 to 507 acres for horizontal wells) for the Silo field were included in Applicant’s engineering analysis.  Additional testimony indicated granting the proposed spacing application will result in efficient and economic development of Application Lands.  
10.        The above-referenced testimony and exhibits show that granting the Application will allow more efficient reservoir drainage, will prevent waste, will assure a greater ultimate recovery of hydrocarbons, and will not violate correlative rights.

11.        Marathon agreed to be bound by oral order of the Commission. 

12.        Based on the facts stated in the verified Application, having received no protests, and based on the Hearing Officer review of the Application under Rule 511., the Commission should enter an order to establish nine approximate 640-acre drilling and spacing units and one approximate 1280-acre drilling and spacing unit for Sections 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 22, 32, 33 and 34, Township 6 North, Range 61 West, 6th P.M., and authorize drilling up to four horizontal wells within each unit, for the production of oil, gas and associated hydrocarbons from the Niobrara Formation.

ORDER

                        NOW, THEREFORE IT IS ORDERED, that nine approximate 640-acre drilling and spacing units and one approximate 1280-acre drilling and spacing unit, are hereby established, for the below-described lands (“Application Lands”), and up to four horizontal wells within each unit, are hereby approved, for the production of oil, gas and associated hydrocarbons from the Niobrara Formation, with the treated interval of the permitted wellbore(s) to be located no closer than 460 feet from the boundaries of the proposed units, without exception being granted by the Director:

Township 6 North, Range 61 West, 6th P.M.         (640-acre units)
Section 5:         All
Section 6:         All
Section 9:         All
Section 15:       All
Section 16:       All
Section 22:       All
Section 32:       All
Section 33:       All
Section 34:       All

Township 6 North, Range 61 West, 6th P.M.         (1280-acre unit)
Section 12:       All
Section 13:       All

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that the provisions contained in the above order shall become effective immediately.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that the Commission expressly reserves its right, after notice and hearing, to alter, amend or repeal any and/or all of the above orders.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that under the State Administrative Procedure Act the Commission considers this Order to be final agency action for purposes of judicial review within 30 days after the date this Order is mailed by the Commission.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that an application for reconsideration by the Commission of this Order is not required prior to the filing for judicial review.

ENTERED this   18th  day of April, 2012, as of April 16, 2012.
           
                                                                        OIL AND GAS CONSERVATION COMMISSION
                                                                        OF THE STATE OF COLORADO

 

                                                                        By____________________________________    
                                                                                    Peter J. Gowen, Acting Secretary

Dated at Suite 801
1120 Lincoln Street
Denver, Colorado 80203
April 18, 2012