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Barnett Shale Booms Anew


Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have some good news for America: the most productive areas of the Barnett shale formation have even more gas to give than previously thought. This report comes on the heels of a study conducted earlier this year by the same group (UT-Austin’s Bureau of Economic Geology). That study estimated that there is twice as much recoverable gas in the formation as was previously thought. E&E News reports:

Gas production in the most productive parts of the play is higher than expected, researchers conclude, a finding that scrambles assumptions that the Barnett — the oldest of the unconventional plays — has lost its geological luster as drillers exploit other fields around the country.

The study is the first to be based on production data from more than 16,000 wells drilled in the Barnett through July 2011…”Even those with varying opinions agree this is the most complete public look anyone has done,” [Scott Tinker, director of the Bureau of Economic Geology] said.

Critics of the shale boom point to rapid decreases in shale well production over time, so reports like this one are a boon to America’s near and medium-term energy future. We’re finding more gas in relatively-easy-to-reach places. It’s not unreasonable to expect that by the time this gas has been drilled, more advanced technologies will allow cheaper and more efficient access to the harder-to-reach varieties.

[Oil rig image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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