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Spending planned in Colorado shale

Colorado shale on par with the Bakken field of North Dakota.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Spending planned in Colorado shale
Colorado energy company Bill Barrett Corp. announces plans to spend more in state shale reserves. File Photo by UPI/Shutterstock/ekina

DENVER, June 11 (UPI) -- Colorado energy company Bill Barrett said it planned to invest more capital on drilling operations in the Denver-Julesburg shale basin in the state.

"Our financial position remains strong and is supported by an undrawn revolving credit facility and a significant cash position," Chief Executive Officer and President Scot Woodall said in a statement.

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Bill Barrett said spending in 2015 could reach $350 million, which includes adding a second drilling rig to the Wattenberg area in the Denver-Julesburg basin. While the lag time in deployment means production for the year will increase only slightly, the company by next year expects output from Colorado shale to grow substantially by next year.

Energy consultant Wood Mackenzie said Oklahoma shale was on par with the Eagle Ford basin in Texas and the Bakken shale in North Dakota with production expected to pass 1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2020.

If it were a country, the American Petroleum Institute estimates Colorado would rank No. 19 in the world in terms of natural gas production and No. 18 in terms of oil production.

Colorado's government in February endorsed recommendations set forth by an oil and gas task force that gave more input to local officials on large-scale drilling operations, though it kept some local control over energy off the table.

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The task force was proposed by Gov. John Hickenlooper in November as a way to reach a compromise between communities and the oil and gas industry.

Bill Barrett's spending plan bucks industry trends. Most energy companies have cut capital spending and staff in a weakened crude oil market.

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