Shale Daily / NGI All News Access

HPDI: Operators Targeting Liquids Development in Shale Plays

Liquids production -- both crude oil and condensate -- is rising significantly at several shale plays in the United States as operators increasingly target the liquids-bearing portions of these formations, according to Austin, TX-based HPDI LLC, a supplier of data on the oil and natural gas industry.

In North Dakota, for example, total liquids production has risen nearly 150% since 2005 due primarily to escalating development of the Bakken Shale, which extends into Montana, the company said. Using similar horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies applied to the nation's shale gas plays, operators increased Bakken production to nearly 50 million bbl in 2009, or about 135,000 b/d, from the 2005 level of about one million b/d, it said. Excluding the Bakken volumes, HPDI said the state's liquids production rose by about 5% over the same four-year period.

Shale plays known primarily for their natural gas production -- or where horizontal drilling initially targeted natural gas -- also are seeing accelerated liquids-focused drilling, the company said.

Liquids production from Appalachia's Marcellus Shale formation nearly quadrupled in 2009 and is expected to show another considerable increase in 2010, according to HPDI.

And in the Eagle Ford formation in East Texas, liquids production in 2009 grew more than five-fold over the previous year and is on track to exceed five million bbl in 2010, the data company said.

In the more mature Barnett Shale in North Texas, overall liquids production more than doubled (and production from horizontal wells swelled roughly six-fold) between 2005 and 2009, according to HPDI.

It reported that liquids production from the Woodford Shale in Oklahoma surpassed one million bbl in 2009, up 83% from 2008 and nearly eight times the 2007 volumes.

The data was published on the Energy Information Administration's website Monday.

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