The Piceance Basin of Rio Blanco County, northwest of Rifle, just attracted another heavy hitter in the gas exploration business. Marathon Oil Corp, the fourth largest US energy company, bought 8,700 acres of gas leases from Petroleum Development Corp for $354 million in cash according to the Grand Junction Sentinel.
Marathon joins EnCana, Williams, Antero and a host of other energy companies in the gas exploration boom in northwest Colorado. There is a shortage of drilling rigs for gas production so some companies have been bringing in rigs from China and Italy. Marathon officials said there will be new rigs built for the Piceance gas field production.The Houston-based company plans on drilling around 700 wells with a total net recoverable resources estimated at 900 billion net cubic feet of gas. Production should begin in late 2007.