The Barnett Shale Formation , located in Texas, is a large natural gas field.
The Barnett Shale natural gas field extends from Dallas and Fort Worth south over a total area of 5,000 square miles of Texas. Much of the gas reserves of the Barnett lie within the city limits of Fort Worth. At one time, according to Wikipedia, some experts rated the Barnett gas field as the largest onshore natural gas field in the United States (That distinction is no longer true). Still, the field may contain as much as 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Improvements in two well-drilling techniques enabled the Barnett Shale natural gas to be developed. These two techniques are hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling. In addition to the two improved drilling techniques, a hefty increase in the price of natural gas played a key role in enabling the gas field to be produced at a profit. Note: The price increase of natural gas has disappeared over the past few years as the US fell into a recession and, also, due to the excess supply from other "shale" gas fields in the US
Mitchell Energy was the small oil company that initiated the improvements in fracking and horizontal drilling techniques in the Barnett Shale Formation. Mitchell Energy was then acquired by Devon Energy and Devon remains a leading natural gas producer in the Barnett. Other notable oil companies in the area include XTO Energy, a company that is rapidly establishing a reputation for producing the difficult shale formations (XTO was recently acquired by Exxon). EOG (An honest spinoff of defunct Enron!) is another significant producer in the Barnett Formation.
(It is noteworthy that EOG is also a major oil producer in the highly publicized Bakken formation of North Dakota which is also a difficult shale formation. Both EOG and XTO are aggresively pursuing shale formation development!)
Chesapeake Energy, one of the nation's largest natural gas producers, is also a major producer in the Barnett Shale.
In addition to the above companies, other oil companies operating in the Barnett Shale include Encana Oil & Gas, ConocoPhillips, Quicksilver Resources, and numerous small oil and gas companies.
Horizontal Drilling. Many of the Barnett wells are, first, drilled down vertically for a mile or so to the Barnett Shale Formation. The wells are then drilled horizontally along the formation for about 3,000 feet. The long horizontal section exposes more of the formation for gas recovery.
FrackingThe exposed horizontal shale formation pores are then opened up or "fracked" by exposing the horizontal section to high-pressure water containing chemicals which assist in the fracking, and, then, imjecting solid proppants (e.g., sand) to hold the formation pores open.
The success of the oil companies in improving horizontal drilling and fracturing technologies and using the improved technologies to develop the Barnett Shale Formation for natural gas, and the Bakken Shale Formation of North Dakota for oil, is the most important technical development in recent oil field history. Formerly, the difficult shale formations were largely ignored by the oil companies. Now, the companies are actively seeking shale formations, e.g., the Haynesville Shale in Louisiana and Marcellus Shale in the Eastern U.S.
Maybe, with the improved techniques, we can survive the energy crisis after all!
American technology at its best!
1. Bakken Oil. The Bakken Shale Formation of North Dakota is one of the largest oil fields found in recent years. As with the Barnett shale natural gas strike, the improved technologies of directional drilling and fracturing played a key role in allowing Bakken to be developed.
2. Bakken Oil Company Stocks. Oil companies are flocking to the Bakken Shale Formation oil strike!
3. Oil & Energy Company Stocks. Oil company stock investments reviewed include large and small oil companies, oil field services companies, and alternative energy companies.
4. Germany In World War 2. The German side of World War 2.
5. Haynesville Shale Formation. The Barnett Shale natural gas field was considered the largest U.S. natural gas field, but, now, the Haynesville Shale field discovered in next-door Northwestern Louisiana has that honor.
Barnett Shale Formation Field is a huge natural gas field and its development is successful because of improved drilling techniques!
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Last Updated: 01/29/17