[Editor's note: A version of this story appears in the March 2021 issue of Oil and Gas Investor magazine.]

After a flurry of consolidations large and small, the main Colorado portion of the Denver-Julesburg (D-J) Basin is broadly expected to have a quieter recovery year in 2021. It could almost be said that the recent consolidations in the play started at the top of the league table and is working its way down.

The largest operator, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., was acquired by Occidental Petroleum Corp. in August 2019. In October 2020, just 14 months later, the second largest operator, Noble Energy Inc., was acquired by Chevron Corp. Other deals of various types have transpired as well.

The D-J Basin mostly produces from the Niobrara Shale but has been in conventional production for many decades. It also extends into Wyoming but is distinct from other plays in that state, notably the Powder River Basin. In contrast to the action in Colorado, the Wyoming section of the D-J remains primarily the province of smaller independents.

Back in the Centennial State, the larger operators have indicated that the outlook for their D-J/Niobrara operations is steady on for this year. There were extensive curtailments last year, and most seem content to let it ride.

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