Colorado Oil

Colorado's crude oil production quadrupled from 2010 to 2015 with the increased use of directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies.

In 2015, the state supplied more than 3 of every 100 barrels of U.S. crude oil production.  Substantial new production is coming from the Niobrara Shale formation in the Denver-Julesberg Basin in northeastern Colorado, where production in one county, Weld, quintupled from 2010 to 2015. Weld County was the source 9 of every 10 barrels of Colorado crude oil produced in 2015.

The state's proved reserves tripled from 2010 to 2014, and the Wattenberg field, much of which is in Weld County, is the fourth largest U.S. oil field ranked by proved reserves. According to industry estimates, approximately 2 billion barrels of oil could be recoverable from the entire Niobrara.  The Piceance Basin in the western mountains is the other primary petroleum-producing area in Colorado.

Northwestern Colorado overlays part of the Green River oil shale, a kerogen-rich formation that, by some estimates, could be the world's largest crude oil resource. Kerogen is an organic material, found in sedimentary rock, which can be heated to extract crude oil. Although pilot oil shale projects have been undertaken in the area, current technology for obtaining crude oil from kerogen has not proven economically viable.

Colorado has two operating petroleum refineries, both in Commerce City near Denver, which are owned and operated as a single complex. They produce motor gasoline, diesel fuel, and asphalt.

Recent upgrades enable the refineries to process more crude oil from Canada's tar sands. With oil production from the Niobrara Shale increasing, more pipelines are being built or repurposed to move Colorado crude oil to refineries out of state.  Demand for refined petroleum products in Colorado exceeds refining capacity.  Several petroleum product pipelines, primarily from Wyoming, Texas, and Kansas, help supply the Colorado market.

The transportation sector accounts for more than four-fifths of all petroleum consumed in Colorado, and much of the rest is used by the industrial sector.

(from US Energy Information Administration).