By Chris Roberts The Daily Times
NAGEEZI — Oil produced from wells in the rolling hills near Chaco Canyon could buoy San Juan County’s sagging economy if more companies discover the area’s potential, according to representatives of a company that is expanding its operations here.
WPX Energy, operating from an office in Aztec, is drilling wells that are producing the shale oil that has become a singular hope for a resurgence of the county’s energy sector. Oil prices remain consistently high, while natural gas, which is bountiful in the San Juan Basin, is marginally profitable now thanks to a supply glut and limited markets.
WPX officials say they plan to continue drilling and are talking to the Navajo Nation about securing leases on Indian land.
Underlying the good news, however, are the inevitable cautions.
The wells are drilled horizontally and use hydraulic fracturing to release oil from the Mancos Shale Formation. New technology is making it possible to extract oil from those formations, which are called “plays.”