George P. Mitchell, founder of Mitchell Energy & Development Corp. and one of the pioneers of hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracing) and drilling technologies in natural gas shale, was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gas Technology Institute. A petroleum engineer with geology training from Texas A&M University, Mitchell was one of the first to believe natural gas could be extracted from shale. Not wanting his oil wells to go to waste in the event of flow shortages, Mitchell employees drilled into the little-explored Barnett Shale in North Texas beginning in the 1990s and tested hydrofracing techniques on more than 30 wells, with some wells’ production barely even covering the cost of operation. Devon Energy Corp. acquired the company in 2002 and subsequently revolutionized the unconventional shale gas play (see Daily GPI, Jan. 25, 2002; Aug. 15, 2001). “I’m truly honored to be receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gas Technology Institute,” said Mitchell. “I believe that the United States should examine all forms of natural gas in order to ease our dependence on coal and foreign oil. It is my hope that my efforts will aid the search for new and unconventional energy sources that can be used by my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

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