Companies are rushing to explore in the Western U.S., spurred by hydraulic fracturing and the Jake well in Colorado, which had been generating about 1,770 barrels of oil per day last year. Though there have only been a few wells drilled, many see a bonanza in the Niobrara Shale, which spans parts of Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming. Producers have started mapping geological formations beneath the ground to determine the best areas in which to drill.

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