Productivity in the Barnett Shale varies widely across the big natural gas field, where an average horizontal well can be expected to produce about 1.44 billion cubic feet of gas over its life, according to preliminary results of a comprehensive study by the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas. Wells in the richest portions of the field can top that and be profitable even at relatively low prices, while those in the poorest areas likely can't make money even at record high gas prices. Some results of the study could be released publicly as early as this month or in March, said Scott Tinker, the bureau's director.
The bureau looked at more than 16,000 Barnett wells drilled through June 2011 to make its estimates. Tinker told the Star-Telegram that if no more wells were drilled in the North Texas field, they would ultimately produce between 22 and 23 trillion cubic feet. But he expects the field's total production to be considerably more than that. "You'll see at least three times that before the field is put to bed, and possibly more than that," he said. The 1.44 bcf figure, called the estimate ultimate recovery, or EUR, is considerably less than the 2 bcf to 3 bcf EUR that many producers have historically estimated. But representatives of the field's two largest producers, Devon Energy and Chesapeake Energy, told the newspaper they still expect their Barnett wells to live up to the companies' forecasts.
For a complete report, see today's Star-Telegram. A link is here.
-- Jim Fuquay