Liquids-rich and oil plays have clearly won the hearts and dollars of North American producers. The Eagle Ford and Bakken shales are stars now, but several others are poised to join or possibly eclipse them, according to a recent note by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (S&P).
Eagle Ford Shale
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Big Oil’s attempt to take over the North American onshore from U.S. independents so far hasn’t paid off as some would have imagined just a few years ago, with the majors still struggling to capture the kind of profits and production results they may have been anticipating.
Australia’s BHP Billiton Ltd. said the Eagle Ford Shale has become the largest producing field in its petroleum and potash division for the year ending June 30, but the company plans to scale back its rig count and spend less on capital expenditures (capex) in the United States in 2014.
Production of oil and natural gas from non-federal lands has skyrocketed while that from federal lands has waned. At least today, the vast majority of shale acreage lies on state and private lands, the Energy Information Administration’ (EIA) Howard Gruenspecht, deputy administrator, said. It’s coal country that is mostly on the government’s property.
After capturing a healthy and growing share of Canadian natural gas consumption with shale production from the United States, exploration and production companies are poised to repeat the feat in oil markets.
At a torch-passing of sorts Wednesday, both outgoing and incoming CEOs for Marathon Oil Corp. had plenty to say about the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale plays, but new CEO Lee Tillman spoke more loudly about future opportunities during a second quarter earnings conference call in which results were said to be up sharply.
One day after Tuscaloosa Marine Shale (TMS) pioneer Goodrich Petroleum Corp. said it would redirect capital from the Eagle Ford Shale to the emerging play, Eagle Ford-focused Sanchez Energy Corp. Thursday announced deals worth $78 million that give it entry into the TMS.
Officials with EXCO Resources Inc. said its acquisitions in the Eagle Ford and Haynesville shales during the second quarter were the foundation for future expansion, while its financial position would be bolstered through its joint ventures (JV) with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. LP (KKR), Harbinger Group Inc. and BG Group plc.