Oil, Gas Companies Bullish on Shale Plays

Independent Oklahoma natural gas companies are capitalizing on fresh natural gas reserves in the state, with energy industry giants Devon and Chesapeake leading the charge.
Energy companies, targeting natural gas from “unconventional” reservoirs, are working to make the resource a greater share of the world’s natural gas supply in the next 20 years, according to industry sources.
Independent producers are helping develop many of the new technologies and well-site strategies to ensure that as much unconventional gas as possible will be available when it’s needed.
The only source of U.S. domestic natural gas supply expected to grow in the next decade is unconventional production, said the U.S. Energy Information Agency.
The distinction between “conventional” and “unconventional” gas resources has in the past been made solely on the basis of economics.
Commonly, uneconomic or marginally economic resources such as tight (low permeability) sandstones, shale gas and coal bed methane, or CBM, have been considered unconventional.
However, higher natural gas prices and improved technology, has made what was previously uneconomic or marginally economic gas resources economically viable.
More than one-third of the remaining U.S. technically recoverable resource base consists of unconventional sources, which include tight sands, shale, and CBM.
With most of the large onshore conventional fields in the U.S. having already been discovered, the U.S. must look to these costlier sources of supply to make up for declines in conventional production.
In Texas and Oklahoma, the Barnett and Woodford Shale plays has spurred numerous venture agreements between companies eager to exploit the resource.
Chesapeake owns the right to develop about 1.3 million acres — the largest leasehold position — in the Delaware Shale play, according to the company Web site. The company is operating two rigs on the acreage and plans to further explore the area in the next two years with active 3D seismic and exploratory drilling programs.
Meanwhile, Devon is a major producer from unconventional natural gas plays such as the Barnett Shale in north Texas and the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, said Chip Minty, Devon spokesman. ?

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