Technological developments unlock energy reserves in Texas
The Barnett Shale is a geological formation lying beneath 17 counties in North Texas. For decades, geoscientists knew that vast energy reserves were sealed inside the tight black rock formed from organic deposits 325 million years ago. The challenge was recovering them economically.
While the Barnett Shale is not particularly deep or impervious to the drill bit, creative concepts and innovations in drilling and completion methods were necessary to recover the gas locked inside the complex, low-porosity rock formation. Extensive research resulted in two significant technological developments: horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Today, developers utilize these methods to tap into the enormous reserves and transform the Barnett Shale into one of the most important natural-gas–producing fields in the United States.
Rather than drilling numerous vertical wells to tap into the energy resource, fewer horizontal wells can now extract gas that was previously unreachable. However, despite innovative horizontal drilling, without hydraulic fracturing, the gas would remain locked in the tight Barnett Shale formation.
Hydraulic fracturing: a process in which crews inject a mixture of water and sand into the shale at a very high pressure, fracturing the surrounding formation and increasing its permeability and releasing trapped gas.
Horizontal drilling: a drilling method in which the departure of the wellbore from vertical exceeds about 80 degrees. Some horizontal wells are designed in a way that after reaching true 90-degree horizontal, the wellbore may actually begin drilling upward.
At Woodland Resources, LLC, our relationships with both multinational majors and independent oil and gas companies have positioned us to rapidly expand our operations in the area of the Barnett Shale formation.