Niobrara Shale >> Overview

Niobrara Shale Overview

The Niobrara shale formation is situated in northeastern Colorado and parts of adjacent Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas.  Primarily an oil play, it is in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, which has long been a major oil and gas province. Technological advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the last decade has helped create new opportunities in this U.S. energy play.

Based on the industry’s plans, shale and other “tight rock” fields that now produce about half a million barrels of oil a day will produce up to three million barrels daily in the U.S. by 2020, according to IHS CERA, an energy research firm. 

Oil and natural gas can be found at depths of 3,000 to 14,000 feet and is drilled both vertically and horizontally.  Considered to be the next major resources play, the Niobrara shale has been compared by some to the successful Bakken shale formation.

Most of the development activity is now centered in the DJ Basin, with operators developing mult-bench as well as the codell formation.


Adding more upside to the play are the numerous nearby formations that accompany it, including Powder River coalbed methane, Mancos and Mowry shale potential.

Multi-Basin / Niobrara System

  1. DJ Basin

  2. Powder River Basin

  3. North Park Basin


DJ Basin, Niobrara & Wattenberg Field


DJ Basin Cross-Section


North Park Basin


In the North Park Basin, Sandrige is actively developing the Niobrara play.  The company purchased the asset for $190 million from EE3.



Geology : North Park Reservoir Characteristics





DJ Basin - Niobrara, Codell

Niobrara Shale Geology

Basin:DJ Basin
Vertical Depth:4,000-9,000
Thickness (ft):250 - 600
Well Information
Avg Well Cost:4
Avg-Lateral (ft):6000
Avg -EUR(Mboe):280
OOIP(MMBO):20 - 40