Eagle Ford Shale oil production positioned to soar

Source: BENTEK Energy

Oil, gas and NGL production from the liquids-rich Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas set to boom, due to a highly attractive oil/condensate play, a solid base of midstream infrastructure, extensive planned infrastructure expansions and proximity to some of the largest energy markets in North America. 

BENTEK Energy has just issued a Market Alert providing an analysis of shale oil, wet gas, natural gas liquids (NGL) and dry gas production growth anticipated from the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas over the next five years. While there are multiple rapidly-growing unconventional oil and gas plays across the U.S., the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, currently the fourth most active play in the nation, stands above the crowd due to its heavy liquids content in three primary producing regions. 

“Horizontal drilling for oil has been highly successful in the northern part of the play, with production expected to increase fivefold from current levels of 71,000 barrels of oil per day (B/pd) to an average of 421,000 B/pd by 2015,” said BENTEK Managing Director E. Russell (Rusty) Braziel. “We are projecting that dry natural gas production, mostly located in the southern portion of the Eagle Ford, will increase from 1.4 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) to more than 3.5 Bcf/d by 2014. During the same period, NGL production from the central sector of the Eagle Ford is projected to grow from current levels of 103 million barrels per day (Mbbl/d) to almost 260 Mbbl/d.” 

The Eagle Ford is primed for growth, thanks to the substantial foundation of gathering, transmission, processing and fractionation infrastructure in place. There also are a significant number of expansion projects either already under construction or planned for development over the next few years. About 2.4 Bcf/d of new gas gathering and transmission, 350,000 b/d of fractionation capacity and nearly 600,000 b/d of oil pipeline capacity is planned for development in the Eagle Ford before the end of 2012. BENTEK expects most of the significant infrastructure bottlenecks will be alleviated during this period, allowing production to grow rapidly. 

Available markets also will play a role in Eagle Ford development – the Eagle Ford is next door to the nation’s largest refining markets. Eagle Ford natural gas also has pipeline space to move east, north, west or south across the Mexican border. Mexico already is becoming an important destination. Eagle Ford NGLs are being produced in close proximity to the nation’s benchmark NGL market at Mt. Belvieu. Gas production from this play has among the highest liquids content of any major unconventional play today in North America, and its proximity to these important markets will ensure an aggressive growth trajectory.

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