Barnett Shale natural gas wells are very productive
A common misconception about Barnet Shale gas wells is that they come online with high flow rates and then fall off quickly, giving them a relatively short productive life. Data from the Railroad Commission of Texas, the Powell Shale Digest and RigData (which tracks natural gas wells in Texas), shows that Barnett Shale natural gas wells are very productive for long periods of time, and production stays very level after initial declines in the first few years.
In September 2009 drilling activity in the Barnett Shale peaked with 200 active rigs. Soon the number of active rigs fell steeply to approximately 75, then recovered slightly and began declining again. Currently, there are less than 50 drilling rigs operating in the Barnett Shale.
Interestingly enough, during this long period of reduced drilling activity, production in the Barnett Shale actually continued to trend upward. It peaked in September 2011 at a little over 6 MMCFGPD (million cubic feet of gas per day) and then declined. It is interesting to note that the decline was less than 1 percent, ending up at 5.5 MMCFGD by June 2012. This graph demonstrates these 2 trends. According to the Powell Shale Digest, there are 18,256 producing Barnett Shale natural gas wells. As of June 2012, these wells produced an average of 5.555 MMCFGPD. This data shows that Barnett Shale gas wells are, in fact, still productive, contrary to common beliefs.