Production Development of The Barnet Shale


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Programme I

Barnett Shale is one of the unconventional resources which are hydrocarbon-producing formations. It is a geological formation which is comprised of sedimentary rocks. It is one of the major onshore natural gas fields in the US. The productive portion of the formation stretches approximately from Dallas West to South and covers about 5000 sq. Miles. It is believed by some geologists that this formation may consist of about 30 trillion cubic Ft. of natural gas. It has introduced a new class of natural gas resources reflecting that

  • Rocks with shale gas sources have the potential to store 100-200Bcfe/mi2 high gas.
  • Shales with extremely low permeability have the possibility to be unlocked with the use of horizontal drilling, along with huge hydraulic stimulation.

The combination of the processes of horizontal drilling as well as hydraulic fracturing has enabled to access increased volumes of shale gas, which previously was considered uneconomical to produce (Nicot and Scanlon, 2012). Horizontal drilling is a peculiar process wherein drilling is undertaken in a horizontal pattern at depth in order to extract natural gas from Barnett Shale. In the past years, Drilling has been intensified because of the advancements in modern hydraulic drilling and fracturing techniques.

The Shale has shown a double-digit growth rate over the years. However, production in the year 2003 of 0.834 Bcf/d and 2011 of 5.68 Bcf/d brought down the estimated growth rate of natural gas production to .1% in 2012 (Browning and et. al., 2013). In the year 2013, the production fell by 6.8% to 5.35 Bcf/d. Further, in the year 2014, there was a decline of 8.0% and a sharp decline of 10.6% was realized in the year 2015. Another, parallel trend which has resulted from this declining growth rate is lowering the prices of both natural gas and crude. This declining trend has corresponded with a reduction in the levels of output. Around March 2015, one of the largest Barnett producers filed for bankruptcy filing. One of the potential ways to revive the production declination in Barnett is to refract all the earlier wells, which were finished using shorter laterals as well as older technologies. It is interesting to note that two years ago about 70% of US demand for gas shale was met by Barnett shale, however, there is a substantial decline in this percentage (Barnett Shale, 2017).

It has been opined by highly renowned experts that this measure shows tremendous opportunities for the customers in Barnett. One of the leading producers, Devon Energy, has estimated the amount of refracting as $1.2 million, which shall, in turn, make an addition of 2Bcf to the potential of every well (The Outlook for the Barnett Shale, 2017). In the year 2015, Devon refracted around 25 wells of Barnett in a horizontal manner. The Barnett region is prone to a series of earthquakes and other minor seismic events in the past few years. It is alleged that drilling waste injection wells is the cause of these seismic events, which are being undertaken purely for the benefit of Barnett Shale producers.

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Programme II

The views of Browning (2013), state that Barnett Shale has developed a prediction-outlook model on the basis of an interdisciplinary analysis of production data. The model includes 10 different tiers of varying productivity and economics of average wells by tier which also covers 8,000 square mile blocks across the drained and undrilled acreage. This is divided between low-Btu and high-Btu segments (Frohlich, 2012). It also uses drillwell potential by tier for the total area and it is also unique in the use of production profiles. It is also identified that drilling in the Barnett is down because the price of natural gas is lower than the price of crude oil. Thus, drilling rigs have moved to the actual place of the oil.

It uses unconventional resources which may yield natural gas, crude oil and other gas condensates. Drilling in the Barnett shale has strengthened modern horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques (which are very much useful in drilling the shale). Prior to two years, 70% of all the US gas shale production came from Barnett; however, this percentage has declined because of the increased production by other entities (Patzek, Male and Marder, 2013). As per the information derived, The Barnet Shale is a hydrocarbon-producing geological formation that is highly significant to the economy of Texas.

It also comprises sedimentary rocks which are chiefly utilized in producing natural resources and this is also stretched from the city of Dallas to other countries. It is also the largest onshore natural gas field in the United States which has been established by the Texas Railroad Commission (Lafollette, Holcomb and Aragon, 2012). There are several core countries where Barnett Shale has been producing and is largely dry gas which changes the production of other fields. In recent years, Barnett Shale has been there in the more liquid-rich portions of the play which particularly deals in Montague, Cooke, Jack and Wise countries (Bowker, 2007).

Natural gas is still dominating the activities of Barnett Shale and as per the recent evidence, it is identified that the play has reached to its decline phase. In the year 2011, it produced 0.834 Bcf/d when the ratio was 5.68 Bcf/d; thus it can be said that natural gas and liquids production increased by 1.1% in 2012 (Vermylen and Zoback, 2011). However, this has been changed in the year 2013 wherein the percentage fell down by 6.8% to 5.35 Bcf/d. Apparently, the decline corresponded with lower prices for natural gas and crude during the period; however recent reduction in output may have changed the production quantity.

One thing that has changed the revived production gains in the Barnett is its rate of decline which is the potential to diminish the older wells that were completed by using shorter laterals (Vermylen and et. al., 2011). This has also used less technology; therefore it reduces the tremendous opportunities for its customers in the Barnett. Several other players have also started new production concepts; hence this declined Barnett midstream systems.


  • Bowker, K. A., 2007. Barnett Shale gas production, Fort Worth Basin: issues and discussion. AAPG bulletin. 91 (4). pp. 523-533.
  • Browning, J., Ikonnikova, S., Gülen, G. and Tinker, S., 2013. Barnett shale production outlook. SPE Economics & Management. 5 (03). pp. 89-104.
  • Frohlich, C., 2012. A two-year survey comparing earthquake activity and injection-well locations in the Barnett Shale, Texas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 109 (35). pp. 13934-13938.
  • Lafollette, R., Holcomb, W. D. and Aragon, J., 2012. Practical data mining: analysis of Barnett shale production results with emphasis on well completion and fracture stimulation. In SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference. Society of Petroleum Engineers.
  • Nicot, J. P. and Scanlon, B. R., 2012. Water use for shale-gas production in Texas, US. Environmental science & technology. 46 (6). pp. 3580-3586.
  • Patzek, T. W., Male, F. and Marder, M., 2013. Gas production in the Barnett Shale obeys a simple scaling theory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 110 (49). pp. 19731-19736.
  • Vermylen, J. and Zoback, M. D., 2011, January. Hydraulic fracturing, microseismic magnitudes, and stress evolution in the Barnett Shale, Texas, USA. In SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference. Society of Petroleum Engineers.
  • Vermylen, J. P. and et. al., 2011. Geomechanical studies of the Barnett shale, Texas, USA. Stanford University.
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