- Highlands Natural Resources has started drilling at its East Denver Niobrara project, a shale oil and gas project in Colorado.

It said that based on strong shareholder uptake in the open offer completed 31 July, which was not previously included in the company's budgets, the company had been able to achieve meaningful operational advantages by spudding two wells in series.

The company said it would first drill and set approximately 2,100 feet of surface casing for the Wildhorse 5-64 15-16-1BHZ, which was designed to target the Niobrara B horizon, then immediately shift the rig to drill and set surface casing for the adjacent Powell 5-64-15-16-1CHZ well, which would target the deeper Niobrara C formation.

The company said it would then continue drilling out the remainder of the deeper Niobara C Powell well, which would let the company gain valuable data about the shallower Niobrara B on the way down.

It said the well costs of the Powell and Wildhorse were essentially equal, and this enhanced drilling plan would allow Highlands to drill the remainder of the Wildhorse well in due course with the benefit of additional geologic data obtained in the Powell well.

It said drilling and casing the Wildhorse's surface casing was expected to take several days, walking the rig to the Powell well would take approximately one day, then drilling operations for Powell were expected to last approximately two weeks with a targeted total depth of 18,247 ft representing the total vertical and horizontal distance drilled in the well.

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