The Denver Post - - BUSINESS -

Oil gi­ant BP has made a nat­u­ral gas dis­cov­ery in the Man­cos for­ma­tion of the San Juan Basin near the Colorado state line that could help re­vive the for­tunes of an out-of-fa­vor re­gion.

The com­pany, which is re­lo­cat­ing the head­quar­ters for its U.S. on­shore op­er­a­tions to Den­ver, said Mon­day a new well it drilled 7 miles south of the Colorado state line in New Mex­ico av­er­aged pro­duc­tion of 12.9 mil­lion cu­bic feet of gas per day — the high­est achieved by a well in that area in 14 years.

“Given the very strong ini­tial pro­duc­tion rates of this well, we be­lieve there is po­ten­tial for the Man­cos Shale to be a large gas play,” said spokesman Brett Clan­ton. “It’s still early, but based on this ini­tial suc­cess, we will be drilling more wells in the Man­cos this year.”

Western Slope petroleum re­serves skew to­ward nat­u­ral gas, and pro­duc­ers have strug­gled with de­pressed prices and com­pe­ti­tion from cheaper-to-ex­ploit fields in Penn­syl­va­nia and Ohio. In Novem­ber, drilling ac­tiv­ity in the San Juan Basin, which cov­ers south­west Colorado and north­west New Mex­ico, came to a stop. But the U.S. Ge­o­logic Sur­vey last sum­mer an­nounced the Man­cos Shale, which runs un­der western Colorado and north­ern New Mex­ico, had 40 times the petroleum re­serves than first es­ti­mated. — Aldo Svaldi, The Den­ver Post

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