The future looks bright for the shale plays in the Rocky Mountain region, according to a panel of analysts at Hart Energy’s recent DUG Rockies conference and exhibition.

During an economics panel at the conference, analysts Trisha Curtis, president and co-founder of PetroNerds LLC, and Stephen Beck, senior director of North American shale for Stratas Advisors, both forecast stable to growing activity in the Bakken, Denver-Julesburg (D-J) Basin and Powder River Basin.

“Higher prices have really helped the Rockies,” Curtis said to a packed house at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver on April 25.

RELATED: DUG Rockies: Whiting’s Aim To Be Pure-Play Bakken

Below Hart Energy Activity Editor Larry Prado summarizes recent activity in the Rockies including Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO) Bakken/Three Forks completions, extended-reach horizontal wells in the North Park Basin by SandRidge Energy Corp. (NYSE: SD) and Crestone Peak Resources' plans for Niobrara/Codell tests in the D-J Basin.

1. KGH Operating: 4/18/18

A Mancos B discovery was announced by KGH Operating Co. on the eastern flank of the Uinta Basin.

The Billings, Mont.-based company’s #28-13 State is in Section 28 of partial township 9s-25e, in Uintah County, Utah. It initially produced 18 barrels (bbl) of 43-degree-gravity oil, 40,000 cubic feet of gas and 9 bbl of water per day. Production is from two fractured intervals at 6,500 ft to 10 ft and 6,575 ft to 85 ft. It was drilled and cased to a total depth of 6,750 ft.

2. Ultra Petroleum: 4/17/18

Houston-based Ultra Petroleum Corp. (NASDAQ: UPL) announced updated completion information on the company’s first two-mile long horizontal Lance project on the Pinedale Anticline.

According to IHS Markit, #9-23-A-1H Warbonnet flowed 42 million cubic feet equivalent per day (MMcfe/d)—a condensate rate of 700 bbl/d and a flowing casing pressure of 3,000 pounds per square inch (psi). It also had reached spot flowrate of 46 MMcfe/d.

Rockies Activity Highlights Map (Map Data: Google)

The discovery is in Section 24-30n-108w of Sublette County, Wyo. The new producer was horizontally drilled about two miles eastward to 22,483 ft at a bottomhole location in Section 20-30n-107w. The true vertical depth is estimated at 11,636 ft.

Ultra is planning to drill a two-mile horizontal Mesaverde test at #9-23-M-1H Warbonnet. The planned depth is 25,000 ft and it will bottom to the east in Section 20-30n-108w.

3. SandRidge Energy: 4/12/18

SandRidge Exploration & Production LLC, an affiliate of Oklahoma City-based SandRidge Energy, completed two extended-reach horizontal wells that were drilled from a common pad in the North Park Basin.

The #2-1H36 Grizzly 0881 and #4-1H36 Grizzly 0881 are currently flowing back and being tested. These wells established oil production in the Niobrara A and B benches, confirming the productivity of all four Niobrara benches (A, B, C and D).

The drillpad is in Section 12-7n-81w in Jackson County, Colo. The wells were drilled to the north and bottomed in Section 36-8n-81w. The #2-1H36 Grizzly 0881 was drilled to 17,295 ft and the #4-1H36 Grizzly 0881 was drilled to 17,600 ft.

4. CCRP Operating: 4/10/18

Drilling permits have been granted to CCRP Operating LLC for 13 extended-reach horizontal Niobrara/Codell exploratory tests in the D-J Basin in Laramie County, Wyo.

The ventures will be drilled from two common drillpads on the Denver-based company’s Scott-Fee leases in Section 34-14n-64w. Seven of the horizontal tests will be drilled in Niobrara, while six will be drilled in Codell.

According to IHS Markit, the planned bottomhole locations are generally to the north in Section 27-14n-64w, with total depths ranging between 17,940 ft and 18,173 ft and true vertical depths ranging between 7,972 ft and 8,183 ft.

5. Crestone Peak: 4/9/18

Up to 180 horizontal Niobrara/Codell tests are planned by the operating subsidiary of Crestone Peak Resources in a 12-section area of the D-J Basin in eastern Boulder County, Colo.

According to IHS Markit, the Denver-based company has submitted a plan for the drilling program, which will take place in sections 1, 2, 3, 10, 11 and 12 of township 1n-69w, and 25, 26, 27, 34, 35 and 36 of township 2n-69w.

Crestone Peak is proposing six well pads within the area – Section 1; Section 3; Section 11; Section 25; Section 26 and Section 35. Thirty-six extended-reach horizontal wells will be drilled from four of the pads (sections 1, 11, 25 and 26), while 18 extended-reach horizontal wells will be drilled from two of the pads (sections 3 and 35). Liquids production will be delivered from these pads to its production hub in nearby Weld County.

The company’s drilling program is in an area of the greater Wattenberg Field that apparently has no horizontally-drilled wells. It contains vertical and directional wells producing from Niobrara, Codell, Sussex and J sand.

According to IHS Markit, Crestone Peak acquired its position in the basin’s Niobrara/Codell play from Encana Corp. (NYSE: ECA). Encana's acreage in the basin comprised about 51,000 net acres concentrated in southwestern Weld.

6. Marathon Oil: 4/3/18

Houston-based Marathon Oil completed four high-volume wells from a drillpad on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in Section 33-152n-94w in McKenzie County, N.D.

The #31-4H Cunningham-USA flowed 4,912 bbl of oil, 7.306 million cubic feet (MMcf) of gas and 2,331 bbl of water per day from the Middle Bakken. Production is from a lateral extending from 10,982 ft southward to 20,959 ft, 10,864 ft true vertical, and it bottomed in Section 9-151n-94w. It was tested on a 54/64-in. choke following 60-stage fracturing between 10,986 ft and 20,641 ft with a flowing casing pressure of 1,700 psi.

The #31-4TFH-2B Garness-USA flowed 3,726 bbl of oil, 4.967 MMcf of gas and 3,146 bbl of water per day from a Middle Three Forks lateral extending southward to 21,075 ft at a bottomhole location in Section 9-151n-94w. The true vertical depth is 10,806 ft. It was tested on a 38/64-in. choke following 45-stage fracturing between 11,172 and 20,440 ft with a flowing casing pressure of 2,390 psi.

The #21-4H Grady-USA flowed 3,004 bbl of oil, 3.753 MMcf of gas and 1,512 bbl of water per day from Middle Bakken at 11,070 ft to 20,819 ft. It was tested on a 40/64-in. choke after 45-stage fracturing. The 21,085-ft lateral extends southward to a bottomhole location in Section 9-151n-94w with a true vertical depth of 10,685 ft.

An upper Three Forks producer, #21-4TFH Marcella-USA, flowed 3,396 bbl of oil, 3.599 MMcf of gas and 1,704 bbl of water per day. It was tested on a 26/64-in. choke following 45-stage fracturing between 11,090 ft and 20,546 ft. The lateral in upper Three Forks extends from 11,020 ft southward to 21,017 ft with a bottomhole location in Section 9-151n-94w. The true vertical depth is 10,736 ft.

7. Foundation Energy: 3/5/18

A vertical wildcat by Dallas-based Foundation Energy Management LLC targeting Ordovician Red River oil zones is underway in Golden Valley County, N.D.

The #44-6 Lardy is in Section 6-140n-104w and has an objective of 12,350 ft in the Red River D zone. The venture was originally permitted in 2014 to Whiting Oil & Gas Inc., an affiliate of Whiting Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: WLL).

Nearby Red River production is from a Whiting completion about three miles to the southwest on the southern flank of Camel Hump Field at #21-26 Maus. It was completed in 2014 initially pumping 255 bbl of oil with 102,000 cubic feet of gas and 47 bbl of water per day from acidized Red River perforations between 12,197 ft and 12,246 ft. It was drilled to 12,375 ft and cased to 12,370 ft.

8. Kraken Oil & Gas: 12/18/17

The operating subsidiary of Kraken Oil & Gas scheduled two extended-reach horizontal Bakken tests on a common drillpad in Section11-27n-57e of Roosevelt County, Mont.

The #10-3-1H Doris will be drilled to the northwest to 20,568 ft, 10,076 ft true vertical, with a bottomhole location in Section 3-27n-57e. The #14-23-1H Della will be drilled to the south to 20,487 ft, 10,131 ft true vertical, and will bottom in Section 23-27n-57e.

The ventures are on the same drillpad as the one used for the Houston-based company’s #1H Fred 15-22 that was originally permitted in 2016.

Larry Prado can be reached at