Another Big Oil Discovery Here in the U.S!

Posted by - Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

One corporation has hit big in northern Colorado. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Wattenberg oil field – originally discovered in 1970 – may hold a billion barrels or more of additional extractable oil and natural gas.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. is staking claims in what is being called a “major find” for the United States. This couldn't have happened at a better time; a time when peak oil fears are set to send energy prices soaring...a time when our country is desperately striving to become independent of the need for foreign oil.

Tag this discovery onto other major finds like the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in South Texas, and we could be “reversing four decades of declining domestic energy production.”

And the companies definitely have the technology to drill and extract these billions of barrels worth of oil. There are two popular and relatively new technologies that will contribute greatly to the drilling success of these oil extracting projects:

  1. Hydraulic fracturing

    Hyraulic fracturing literally means making fractures rock layers by using a water bassed pressurized fluid. Through this somewhat controversial process, oil companies are able to pump millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals into rocks that are buried deeply in order to free the oil and gas trapped inside.

  2. Horizontal Drilling

    Horizontal drilling involves drilling right into the reservoir itself. The term "horizontal drilling" refers to the process of drilling a well from the surface to a subsurface location located slightly above the main oil/gas reservior – the “kickoff point” – then “deviating the well bore from the vertical plane around a curve” to cross over the reservoir at the “entry point” with a nearly horizontal incline “remaining within the reservoir until the desired bottom hole location is reached.”

Here's a picture showing how horizontal drilling works:

horizontal drilling
*Image courtsey of geology.wisc.edu.

Anadarko and Carrizo Oil & Gas have been using these methods of drilling in Wattenberg, “breathing new life into the field.” Andarko expects production in this region to grow by 20% in the following year, from 72,400 barrels last quarter.

The company recently announced that they are extremely optimistic on 11 wells in the Wattenberg, saying it can drill anywhere from 1,200 through 2,700 wells in northeast Colorado. When all is said and done, Anadarko plans to drill approximatley 160 wells in 2012.

In the meantime, keep your eye on Wyoming as well...Anadarko is going to test their new drilling technologies to see if they can find success in the wells of Wyoming.

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