Barnett Play to Drive Unconventional US O&G Growth

The major role played by the strategically developed Barnett shale in the U.S. natural oil and gas production is expected to provide a model for the development of other shale plays, according to a new report by GlobalData.

The new report states that the Barnett shale/Barnett shale combo has historically attracted substantial investments from oil and gas companies. High crude oil prices are anticipated to encourage oil and gas companies to explore and develop Barnett shale combo projects in the future.

Gas wells in the Barnett shale reached a total of 15,731 in March 2012. Drilling and exploration activities have continued to improve, due to advanced fracturing technology that allows oil and gas companies to operate at substantially high recovery rates in the initial production phase. This means that fewer rigs are required in the drilling process to drill a higher number of wells than ever before, improving the productivity of the wells drilled. Operators have also improved their techniques to reduce drilling times, leaving many wells to be drilled from one multi-well pad, which has led to growing efficiency in production rates.

Clearly, these new technologies are paying off for major oil and gas companies, who have been busy acquiring new resources in the liquid-rich area of the Barnett shale play. EV Energy Partners and Enervest have expanded their acreage position in the Barnett shale combo by acquiring natural gas assets worth $1,083m in November 2011. Pioneer Resources has also planned to invest around $170m.

The total number of permits issued in Barnett shale reached 3,642 in 2011. With 1,231 new gas permits issued in 2011 alone, interest is increasing in development and drilling activities in the shale play. It is anticipated that the total number of permits will continue to grow, with more drilling locations popping up not only in this shale play, but in other plays that can mimic its success.

During 2003-2011, the cumulative gross gas production of the Barnett Shale was 10.8 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). It is expected that future gross production will reach 2,068.6 billion cubic feet equivalent (bcfe) in 2012, later stabilizing at 2,562.5bcfe in 2020.


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