The Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas is "primed for growth," thanks to a substantial foundation of gathering, transmission, processing and fractionation infrastructure in place, Bentek Energy LLC said in a new report. And more projects are under way or in the works over the next few years.

About 2.4 Bcf/d of new gas gathering and transmission, 350,000 b/d of fractionation capacity and nearly 600,000 b/d of oil pipeline capacity is planned for development in the Eagle Ford before the end of 2012, according to the Evergreen, CO-based firm. Bentek said it expects that most of the significant infrastructure bottlenecks will be alleviated during this period, "allowing production to grow rapidly."

The Eagle Ford is the fourth most active play in the country and "stands above the crowd due to its heavy liquids content in three primary producing regions," according to Bentek's "Eagle Ford Shale: Deep in the Heart of Texas."

Horizontal drilling for oil has been particularly successful in the northern part of the Eagle Ford, Bentek said. It expects production to increase from current levels of 71,000 b/d to an average of 421,000 b/d by 2015.

"We are projecting that dry natural gas production, mostly located in the southern portion of the Eagle Ford, will increase from 1.4 Bcf/d to more than 3.5 Bcf/d by 2014," said Bentek Managing Director Rusty Braziel. " During the same period, NGL [natural gas liquid] production from the central sector of the Eagle Ford is projected to grow from current levels of 103 million b/d to almost 260 million b/d."

The Eagle Ford is "next door to the nation's largest refining markets," Bentek said. Eagle Ford natural gas also has pipeline capacity available to move east, north, west or south across the Mexican border. [Despite abundant natural gas reserves of its own, Mexico continues to be a net natural gas importer (see Daily GPI, April 4)]. Additionally, Eagle Ford NGLs are being produced near the nation's benchmark NGL market at Mont Belvieu, TX, Bentek noted.