USGS Finds “Substantial Increase” in Barnett Shale Resources

Recently, the Permian Basin has been getting a lot of attention for its successful production record, despite the current price conditions. However the Barnett Shale in North Texas also has some equally impressive numbers to show off.

This week, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released an updated estimate of the reserves in the Barnett Shale play. The numbers are impressive and indicate that the Barnett Shale (which has already provided great success to Texas) still has more benefits to dole out to the people of Texas.

The latest numbers show that the Barnett Shale has estimated mean volumes of 53 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, 176 million barrels of natural gas liquids, and 172 million barrels of shale oil. This means that the estimated mean volume of natural gas has now doubled since the previous USGS assessment conducted in 2003. According to the USGS:

“The substantial increase in potential resources is largely due to the oil and gas industry’s switch    to primarily horizontal drilling within the Barnett, paired with hydraulic fracturing. The 2003 USGS assessment relied solely on vertical drilling.”

The switch to fracking has been the main driver of the increase in potential resources in the Barnett shale, as over 16,000 horizontal wells have been drilled in the area since 2003. According to the USGS, this has led to production of over 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 59 million barrels of oil since then. And it doesn’t look like this play is slowing down anytime soon.

These numbers are massive, but not as massive as reserve numbers released by this week’s assessment. Texans should celebrate the fact that they have multiple powerhouse shale plays that continue to bring in outside investment, despite today’s market challenges. The Barnett Shale play has been, and will continue to be a major contributor to the nation and the folks of Texas.

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