Study predicts Barnett Shale will produce for years to come
According to the recent Barnett Shale Gas Assessment Study conducted by the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) at The University of Texas at Austin, the Barnett Shale will still be producing natural gas for years to come – well beyond the year 2030. The study is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and incorporates engineering, geology and economics in a numerical model.
The Barnett Shale Gas Assessment Study’s accompanying press release states that the study is possibly one of the most in-depth evaluations of the Barnett Shale’s potential for natural gas production. Researchers looked at 16,000 natural gas wells that were drilled in the Barnett Shale through mid-2011. The study forecasts a cumulative 44 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of recoverable natural gas from the Barnett Shale (approximately 13 TCF have already been produced). The study projected that 10,000 more wells will be drilled in addition to the 18,500 that have been drilled as of 2013.
The study’s base case assumes average natural gas prices of $4 per thousand cubic feet (MCF) but allows for variations in price. This price assumption appears to be in line with actual prices, which rose fairly steadily in 2012 and were around $4 in the first quarter of 2013.
The study bodes well for the many shale gas plays in the U.S., as the press release concludes: “Overall, the rigorous assessment of the country’s second most productive shale gas formation reaffirms the transformative, long-term impact of shale and other unconventional reservoirs of oil and gas on U.S. energy markets.”
Within the year, additional details will be forthcoming in a series of journal manuscripts, all of which undergo professional peer review as part of BEG’s research process.