--> --> Integrated assessment of the oil-rich Niobrara and Mowry Shale plays, Powder River Basin, Wyoming

AAPG Rocky Mountain Section Meeting

Datapages, Inc.Print this page

Integrated assessment of the oil-rich Niobrara and Mowry Shale plays, Powder River Basin, Wyoming


Over the last 10-years, numerous unconventional resources have become economically viable with advancements in horizontal drilling and completion technologies. The Powder River Basin experienced a 3500% increase in drilling during the 2007-2012 period, particularly for horizonal drilling of the Niobrara Shale formation. The Mowry Shale is an organic-rich play and indicates a promising potential based on other shale play analogs. Exploration of the Mowry was delayed due to the 2015 downturn, therefore limited production data is available today. As the market rebounds, the basin has been revitalized with 21,000 permits currently awaiting approval and almost 3,000 permits ready for drilling. Due to the market interest in the Powder River Basin and the limited understanding of optimized drilling and completion techniques to transform the Niobrara and Mowry to prolific plays, this study aims to add to the basin-wide understanding of these shale plays to support the forecasted increase in production activity. This multiple-disciplinary research utilizes core analysis and well log interpretations over the entire basin to understand the spatial distribution and geometry of the Niobrara and Mowry shale reservoirs. Rock properties were calibrated to wireline logs and core data, upscaled, and distributed to generate Rocky Mountain Section – AAPG: 2019 Annual Meeting 64 a geostatistical 3D model. This 3D basin assessment model is calibrated to production results for basin reservoir characteristics and predictions. The resulting model is a tool that can help identify valuable play areas for future exploration and a reference to help mitigate potential risks associated with drilling and completions.