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Increasing the Odds: Data Analysis of the Barnett Shale in the Fort Worth Basin

Bowman, Thomas, Donald Burch, Eric J. Nelson, and Dwight E. Roberts
Aspect Abundant Shale LP, Denver, CO

     The Barnett Shale is a gas play in the Fort Worth basin whose appeal is that it is paradoxically both low in risk and high in reward. The risk is low because there is little doubt that gas exists in enormous volumes in the Barnett Shale source rock, estimated as much as 150 BCF per square mile, at depths between 7,000 ft and 8,500 ft. Reward is great because fracture stimulation technologies and, recently, horizontal drilling, have already yielded more that 2.6 TCF of gas and 8.46 million barrels of hydrocarbon liquids from the Barnett Shale.
     The discovery well for the Newark East (Barnett Shale) Gas Field was Mitchell Energy's Slay #1 in southeast Wise County, Texas, completed in December of 1981. Since 1981, over 5,600 wells have been drilled in the Barnett Shale, including over 2,000 horizontal wells. With the consistently increasing activity in the Fort Worth Basin some analysis shows that, while many wells are profitable and some operators are significantly more successful than others, a tremendous amount of the Barnett Shale wells will possibly loose money.
     Determining where and how an operator is successful in the Barnett Shale depends on a thorough analysis of the information available. This analysis and comparisons for the Barnett Shale in the Fort Worth Basin allows for some generalizations to be formulated, and allows for some explanations to be presented that will increase the overall drilling and completion success throughout the play.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90071 © 2007 AAPG Rocky Mountain Meeting, Snowbird, Utah