Statistics compiled by the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) tell a tale of booming production in the liquids-rich Eagle Ford Shale, with an increased emphasis on oil and condensate in the play and significantly more flaring of gas statewide.
During the period of January-October 2011, production of condensate from the Eagle Ford increased 136% from all of 2010 to nearly 16.87 million bbl. Comparing the same periods, Eagle Ford oil production grew by more than 216% to nearly 13.84 million bbl, while gas well gas production grew by 93% to 212 Bcf.
Drilling permits issued for the Eagle Ford also shot up last year from 2010. Last year the RRC issued 2,828 permits to drill in the Eagle Ford, a 180% increase from the 1,010 permits issued during 2010.
Interest in flaring gas among Texas producers statewide more than doubled in fiscal 2011 from the year-ago period. In fiscal 2011 the RRC approved 651 permits to flare gas, more than double the 306 approved during the year-ago period (306), which was nearly double the number approved in fiscal 2009 (158).
Statistics on flaring permits granted for just the Eagle Ford are not readily available.
According to RRC rules, operators are allowed to flare gas during drilling and up to 10 days after completion of a well. Flaring typically is necessary because new wells do not have gas pipeline connections.
Permits to flare are issued by the RRC for 45 days at a time for a maximum of 180 days. If operators want to pursue an additional 45 days past the initial 45-day flare permit time period, they must provide documentation that progress has been made toward establishing the necessary infrastructure to produce gas rather than flaring it.