This "find" sounds significant, 26 trillion cubic feet. Until you hear that the US consumes more than that in one year (See the DOE - Energy Information Agency web site). I thought the field was known about for a long time, it is a "poor" quality well and was just too expensive to develop when gas was under $4MCF.chasmauch@...
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Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2005 17:47:04 -0700
Subject: [nhnenews] PO: Huge Natural Gas Field 'Discovered' In Texas
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HUGE NATURAL GAS FIELD 'DISCOVERED' IN TEXAS
MAJOR ENERGY FIRMS SEEING BENEFIT IN DEVELOPING DOMESTIC SOURCES
November 30, 2005
Though it's been in production for nearly 25 years, a huge natural gas field
in Texas is now drawing the attention of major energy companies -- but only
after independent operations proved its worth.
Fort Worth, Texas, is built on top the Barnett Shale natural gas field, a
field so vast that the U.S. Geological Service
estimates it contains some 26
trillion cubic feet of yet-to-be-discovered natural gas. Estimates are that
as much as 160 billion cubic feet of natural gas are in place per square
mile in the Barnett Shale formation. The Barnett Shale field is the largest
gas-producing field in Texas, covering some 15 counties in the northern part
of the state. The core area comprises about 120,000 net acres that stretch
north from Fort Worth to the western outskirts of Denton.
The field was undiscovered until 1981 when independent Mitchell Energy
drilled the first well. The largest operator in the Barnett Shale field is
Devon Energy Corporation, one of America's largest and most successful
independent oil and natural gas companies, headquartered in Oklahoma City.
In January 2002, Devon completed the acquisition of the field's pioneer,
Mitchell Energy. Today, Devon operates more than 1,700 wells into the
Barnett Shale core area, wells that today produce more
than 550 million
cubic feet of natural gas per day.
According to Brian Engel, manager of public affairs for Devon, the company's
success in large part derives from developing a light sand, water fracturing
technology that permits efficient natural gas exploration from the field.
"The Barnett Shale formation," says Mr. Engel, "has rightfully emerged as
the largest natural gas field in Texas and one of the most important natural
gas fields in the nation."
Now that the independents have proven Barnett Shale to be hugely productive,
major companies including ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips, BP and
Shell have moved in to buy up production rights.
"It makes sense," explained Tom Biracree, senior financial editor with John
S. Herold Inc., an energy research and investment valuation firm based in
Norwalk, Conn. "The industry is seeing a decided trend moving toward the
development of on-shore natural gas resources in the
Why? "It's an economic market play," explained Biracree. "With the price of
natural gas at $10 per thousand cubic feet, not $2, it becomes very
attractive for the major industry players to focus more attention on
exploring for natural gas right here at home."
Biracree continued, "Developing natural gas resources in the continental
U.S. also permits the major companies to avoid the political risk of working
overseas. The rules of the game don't change here like they can when you're
dealing with a foreign government."
Biracree noted that the industry is learning today how to explore deeper and
extract more natural gas profitably from what, in years past, were
considered riskier enterprises.
"We have growing expertise in the technologies which make extraction of
natural gas from shale profitable," said Biracree. "Besides, today the
demand for natural gas is growing in the United States and the market
established very attractive prices. It's the same principle why Wal-Mart
trucks in snow shovels in a snow storm." In other words, opportunities like
Barnett Shale are market-driven.
Technically, the U.S. Geological Survey describes the Barnet Shale formation
as the "Greater Newark East Frac-Barrier Continuous Barnett Shale Gas
Assessment Unit." The rock is identified as a Mississippian formation,
dating back some 330 million years. Geologists describe the formation as
"source rock" or "reservoir rock," assuming that the organic material in the
metamorphic shale has morphed into the "kerogen" traditionally assumed as
needed to produce natural gas.
Barnett Shale is deeply fractured, with fissures that tended to be sealed by
calcium carbonate. The field went undiscovered until Mitchell Energy
experimented with employing large gel fracture methods to open the wells to
natural gas. The full potential of the field waited for the light
water fracture technology developed by Devon Energy Corporation, a
technology that fractures the shale so the natural gas can be extracted. The
Barnett Shale formation lies at a depth of between 1 to 2 miles below the
surface, with the shale running some 400 to 500 feet thick.
Commented Jerome Corsi, Ph.D., co-author of "Black Gold Stranglehold: The
Myth of Scarcity and the Politics of Oil": "With the field only discovered
in 1981, the Barnett Shale natural gas resources were not known when Shell
Oil geologist M. King Hubbert started worrying about 'peak production.' With
natural gas resources this abundant, we can be reasonably assured there
remains a large quantity of natural gas to be extracted at home, right on
the continental U.S. That abundance should be apparent even to those who
want to maintain the doctrinaire position that the Barnett Shale natural gas
is organic in nature."
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