Monday night, Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) announced excellent results for the Wattenberg Horizontal Field, located in the Niobrara Shale, in northeastern Colorado. Anadarko is currently producing from 11 horizontal wells, and the company believes that the play has net resource potential of 500 million to 1.5 billion BOE. The company believes it has between 1,200 and 2,700 future drilling locations, with EURs of 300,000-600,000 BOE per well, about 70% of which is liquids. Anadarko will increase the number of drill rigs in Wattenberg to 7 and quadruple the number of wells drilled in 2012,from 40 in 2011 to 160, as well as continue to explore areas in the Niobrara outside the Wattenberg HZ field. Given the great results, Anadarko's shares are barely responding to the news, up about 1%. Given these great results from the Wattenberg, investors should consider taking a look at some of the other producers in and around Anadarko's operations.
Noble Energy (NYSE:NBL) is a huge player in the Niobrara, holding 400,000 net acres in the Wattenberg Horizontal. Noble plans to operate 5-6 rigs in 2012, and is targeting 8-10 wells being completed per month in 2012. The firm is already the largest oil producer in Colorado, and the increasing drilling scheduled for 2012 should allow Noble to keep that industry leading position.
PDC Energy (PETD) is another player in the Wattenberg, holding 74,100 acres. In 2011, PDC has drilled 14 wells in the Wattenberg Horizontal, seeing an average of 76% of the production being liquids. The firm has an average working interest of 75% in the wells, and plans on drilling about 25 wells in 2012.
Other players around the Wattenberg Field are Carrizo Oil & Gas (NASDAQ:CRZO), EnCana (NYSE:ECA), Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO), and EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG). Expect each of these companies to further detail their exposure and results regarding the Niobrara and Wattenberg in the coming weeks and months, as a few of the firms, notably EnCana and Marathon, still classify the region as an "emerging play." As each company further explains its exposure to the space, as well as updates drilling plans and cap ex plans, investors can expect analysts to adjust price targets, likely to the upside.
The Wattenberg Field is the latest in the string of new oil field being accessed in the US by new horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques. Anadarko's fantastic production results and net resource estimates are likely to focus more money into the northeastern Colorado field, and the rest of the Niobrara Shale, as well as raise the valuations of the companies that are currently operating there.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.