Highlands Natural Resources plc: Colorado Shale - East Denver Project Update

Highlands, the London-listed natural resources company, is pleased to provide an update on operations at its East Denver shale oil and gas project, where its operations to deliver six additional wells, being funded entirely by its partners, continue. On completion, the total number of wells at East Denver will be eight.   

As announced on 4 June 2018, the Buckskin 5-64-15-16-1BHZ well has been drilled to a total depth of 17,997 ft and it has been cased, cemented and secured. Since then, in line with the Company's strategy to deliver cost effective operations as efficiently as possible  and to be a pioneer in terms of oil field technology, it has been testing a new bottom-hole-assembly ("BHA") drilling technique at its Grizzly, Ouray and Thunder wells. Learnings from testing the new BHA at East Denver will provide valuable information and experience to the Company as it hopes to adopt this technique for its future operations at its West Denver Project to improve efficiency and make significant savings in drilling costs.

Testing this new assembly has required the Company to try different mud-motors and the location of string stabilizers. With this in mind, the timetable for drilling has been revised, with drilling anticipated to be completed in the next three to four weeks. Both Grizzly and Ouray have been drilled to total depth (17,921 ft and 17,796 ft respectively) and cased, cemented and secured. The rig is currently drilling the lateral section of the Thunder and is expected to reach its total projected depth of 17,960 ft by the end of the week.

Following the completion of all drilling operations, fracking operations will commence shortly after. Highlands plans to use the zipper-frac technique to alternate the stimulation in three wells at a time as the technique enables operators to maximise efficiency and minimise the downtime. With this in mind, the frac time is anticipated to take between 7 and 10 days per well.  After the frac is completed on all six wells, the isolation plugs will be drilled out on each well (approximately 5 days per well) before flow-back is expected to start.   

Robert Price, Highlands' Chairman and CEO, said: "This initiative is focused on setting the scene for the delivery of best-in-class operations at our future oil production projects. Although it has compromised the timeframe we originally set out, the results we have observed elsewhere in the DJ Basin indicate that the potential benefits could far outweigh the additional time we have to spend on executing this effectively. Our reputation as pioneers and high-quality operators have provided us with access to the range of opportunities we now hold in our portfolio and we are delighted to be solidifying this through these operations. Given that the combined initial production rate for the first two wells at East Denver was 1,771 BOEPD at December 2017, we are optimistic about the success of these six new wells."

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