USGS doubles 2003 estimate for Barnett shale resources

The Barnett shale could contain 53 tcf of gas, according to the latest assessment from the US Geological Survey. Updating from its 2003 assessment, USGS reported that undiscovered, technically recoverable resources could also include 172 million bbl of oil and 176 million bbl of natural gas liquids.

The Barnett shale, which lies in Texas, was included in USGS’s 2003 assessment of conventional and unconventional (continuous) reservoirs of the Bend Arch-Fort Worth basin province. At the time, the play was said to contain 26.2 tcf of undiscovered natural gas and 1 billion bbl of undiscovered natural gas liquids within the Barnett shale.

The newly revised assessment follows the successful introduction of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the region. The 2003 assessment relied solely on vertical drilling, the USGS said in a press release. Since that time, more than 16,000 horizontal wells have been drilled in the formation, producing more than 15 tcf of natural gas and 59 million bbl of oil.

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