Report: Niobrara could yield 3.6 billion barrels

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The Niobrara formation – known for its oil and gas deposits – is getting even bigger, according to the Denver Business Journal.

The newspaper is reporting that yield estimates for the Niobrara, which includes parts of El Paso County and Colorado Springs, have soared to 3.6 billion barrels.

That’s one-third larger than previous forecasts by Noble Energy and HHS Inc. But Noble says it believes it can pump 2.1 million barrels from its mineral rights holdings, bringing more than $10 million in investment to the state.

The Niobrara formation is one of several new shale plays in the United States that have raised the crude oil production to nationally record levels. The formations are attracting billions in investment and generating jobs.

Banning Lewis Ranch is on the edge of the Niobrara formation, and the city is struggling to complete oil and gas regulations for the first time in its history. The City Council put off passing the regulations at its last meeting in December, which means that the regulations won’t be passed until 2013.

The reason: some Council members fear that drilling could take place too close to residential areas and contaminate water supply from fracking.

But some Councilors say that oil and gas exploration could bring 5,000 high-paying jobs to the area, where unemployment levels are higher than in Denver and the state as a whole.

To read more about oil and gas jobs in the city, click here.