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Highlands’ East Denver partners to stagger remaining fracking operations after dry summer

An unusually hot and dry summer in Colorado has led to water shortages throughout the state, forcing Highlands and its partners to stagger the remaining fracking operations at East Denver

denver landscape
Generally speaking, somewhere between 2-8mln gallons of water are needed to frack a well

The hot and dry weather in Colorado over the summer months has forced Highlands Natural Resources PLC’s (LON:HNR) partners to revise the fracking schedule at the East Denver project.

Drilling operations at the six new wells at the project were completed in mid-July. The Grizzly well has been fracked, while fracking at the Ouray and Buckskin wells is about 60% complete.

READ: Highlands announces start of fracking at East Denver

The hot summer, one of the driest on record, has led to disruptions in water supply throughout the state and Highlands said its operations aren’t immune from these issues.

Water is essential to frack a well, with millions of gallons required to open tiny pockets or cracks in the shale rock in order to release the gas which had been locked away.

As a result, the well operator has decided to stagger the remaining fracking operations to compensate for the drought conditions.

The partners have requested additional water supplies, while Highlands is also moving two water recycling units to the project, which will treat the flow-back water. This fresh water will then be sold back to the operator.

Given the local competition for water, Highlands said just securing these back-up supplies was a “considerable achievement”.

The staggering of the remaining operations means the company now expects to finish up fracking in December with flow-back from the new wells later that month or early January.

At that point, Highlands will have a 7.5% carried interest in eight producing wells when these six additional wells come online.

Operations had been expected to be completed in October, with flow-back from the new wells originally due in November.

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