Many Technologies Applied to Develop Wattenberg Field, a Giant in Denver’s Backyard
Published:December 01, 2009
- PDF LinkChapter PDF
Thomas J. Birmingham, 2009. "Many Technologies Applied to Develop Wattenberg Field, a Giant in Denver’s Backyard", Unconventional Energy Resources: Making the Unconventional Conventional, Tim Carr, Tony D’Agostino, William Ambrose, Jack Pashin, Norman C. Rosen
Download citation file:
Since its discovery in 1970, Wattenberg has been a prolific oil and gas field in the Rocky Mountain region. Having 4.2 TCFE produced to-date and estimated EURs conservatively projected to exceed 5.5 TCFE, Wattenberg ranks as the 8th largest gas field in the U.S. Production was first established from the Cretaceous J Sandstone, a pervasive delta-front shoreline and valley fill sequence covering a significant portion of northeast Colorado. In the early 1980’s, commercial production from the Cretaceous Codell and Niobrara formations established low-risk multiple pay options over the entire field area, which underwent strong exploitation phases during the 1990’s and 2000’s. The Codell represents marine shelf bar and bar margin sandstone deposits. The Niobrara is represented by a deep water chalk environment of deposition. All producing units in Wattenberg are classified as tight gas reservoirs, having in situ permeabilities ranging from 0.01 to 0.0001 md and requiring hydraulic fracture stimulation to achieve commercial results.
Multiple generations of technological improvements in drilling, petrophysics, and completion practices have been applied in Wattenberg during four decades of field development. Operational and logging methods include directional and pad drilling, horizontal drilling, infill drilling, FMI, CMR, and ECS logging, and new commingling of pay groups. Reservoir methods include advances in hydraulic fracturing, microseismic evaluations, petrophysical/saturation modeling, facility automation, subsurface ties to outcrop sections, pressure/volumetric studies, and fault sealing analyses. More recent studies tying outcrops to subsurface sections of isolated shelf sand bodies may provide potential opportunities for new generation plays and increase current reserve estimates.
In the future, Wattenberg will continue as a major gas field. Its proximity to the metropolitan corridor in eastern Colorado will provide that area with a convenient low-cost source of energy supply.