FEATURE: Barnett gas production on decline as Eagle Ford output ramps up

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Like an aging baseball player who no longer leads the league in home runs, but who still has years of playing time ahead of him, the Barnett Shale has apparently seen its gas production hit a peak, but the venerable North Texas gas play still has many years of robust gas production in its future.

Meanwhile a young rookie, the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas, which is on a rapidly rising trajectory in terms of gas production, seems destined to become the new star player in the field.

In the past 20 years, production in the Barnett has ramped up from 30,000 Mcf/d to 5.71 Bcf/d in 2012. However, the first half of this year saw Barnett production fall off to 5.10 Bcf/d.

Ryan Smith, an analyst with Platts unit Bentek Energy, said Barnett gas production has peaked and has entered into a long period of slow decline. "In our forecast we have Barnett declining, and eventually flattening out in 2015 and 2016."

But Smith commented that even in the current low gas price environment, "surprisingly, there's still quite a bit of drilling activity," in the play.

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