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General Meeting Society of Petroleum Engineers - Denver Section - March 16, 2011

Society of Petroleum Engineers Denver Section

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM (MDT)

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Member Ended $25.00 $0.00

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Event Details

SPE General Meeting

Topic:       The Niobrara Petroleum System, a Major Tight Resource Play in the Rocky Mountain Region

Speaker:    Stephen A. Sonnenberg, Dept. of Geology & Geological Eng.

 Colorado School of Mines


Date:              Wednesday - March 16, 2011

Time:         11:30 am

 Place:         Denver Athletic Club

4th Floor
1325 Glenarm Place
Denver, CO80204
[ Yahoo! Maps ]
Map of 1325 Glenarm Pl
Denver, CO 80204-2114

 Cost:    $25.00 with reservations, $30.00 at the door if space is available.

Reservation Deadline:  Noon, Monday March 14, 2011.  Please make reservations, Walk-in's can not be guaranteed a meal.


The Niobrara Petroleum System of the U.S. Rocky Mountain Region is a major tight petroleum resource play.  The Niobrara is self-sourced and reservoirs are low permeability chalks, shales, and sandstones.  Source beds have total organic carbon contents that range from 2 to 8 weight percent.  Source beds are thermally mature in the deeper parts of many of the Laramide basins in the Rocky Mountain region.  Continuous or pervasive accumulations occur in thermally mature areas.

            The Niobrara source rocks are dominantly Type II (sapropelic).  Oil accumulations occur where source beds are still in the thermogenic oil window (e.g., Denver Basin).  Thermogenic gas accumulations occur where the source beds have entered the gas generating window in deeper parts of basins (e.g., Piceance Basin).  Biogenic methane occurs in shallow chalk reservoirs on the east flank of the Western Interior Cretaceous Basin.  In addition shallow gas fields are found in northern Montana.

            Natural fractures are important in controlling sweet spots in the play and form for several causes.  Several models create fractures in the Niobrara and include Laramide tectonics, Neogene extensional tectonics, solution of evaporates, hydrocarbon generation, and regional stress patterns. 

            The Niobrara is a technology reservoir that requires horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing.  The Niobrara petroleum system is present over most of the Rocky Mountain Region and is prospective in many areas.




Dr. Steve Sonnenberg is a Professor of Geology and holds the Charles Boettcher Distinguished Chair in Petroleum Geology at the Colorado School of Mines.  He specializes in unconventional reservoirs, sequence stratigraphy, tectonic influence on sedimentation, and petroleum geology.  A native of Billings, Montana, Sonnenberg received BS and MS degrees in geology from Texas A&M University and a Ph.D. degree in geology from the Colorado School of Mines.  Steve began teaching at Colorado School of Mines in 2007 after working in the petroleum industry for over 25 years.


Steve has served as President of several organizations including the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, and Colorado Scientific Society. 



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When & Where

Denver Athletic Club
1325 Glenarm Place
4th Floor
Denver, CO 80204

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM (MDT)

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Society of Petroleum Engineers Denver Section

Julianna Sipeki

2015-16 Program Chair

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