Many Companies Reaping the Benefits of Early Action in Eagle Ford
The Eagle Ford shale encompasses 30 counties in South Texas, and projections for the output of oil in the Eagle Ford Shale continue to grow as companies lay pipeline and increase the number of active wells. In fact, last October the Eagle Ford output reached the 1 million barrel per day mark before the Bakken Shale in North Dakota, and in the next six years that number is expected to double.
The current front runner with the best position in the Eagle Ford region is EOG Resources. Because of their foresight, leasing before predictions identified Eagle Ford as a productive region, their holdings include around 650,000 acres. EOG Resources recovers oil using extended reach horizontal wells, and Wood Mackenzie, the energy consulting firm, estimates the value of EOG’s position at $22 billion.
Conoco Phillips, who also got in on the action in the days before the area began showing real promise, is the second largest net producer in the region with over 220,000 acres. Recent reports show that wells already in production have produced up to 1,000 barrels per day, and the company projects that by 2017 they will produce nearly 150,000 barrels of oil per day.
The third largest net producer in the Eagle Ford Shale is BHP Billiton, an Australian company that bought out PetroHawk Energy Corporation in 2011. Nearly 70 percent of their rigs currently in production are located in the Eagle Ford. The company is working to develop better ways to increase production on the wells already in use, such as micro seismic monitoring.
Devon Energy Corporation, based in Oklahoma City, intends to spend around $3.5 billion on oil fields this year. This includes plans to drill 230 new wells in Eagle Ford, with predictions that its new acquisition from GeoSouthern this year will produce 100,000 barrels per day by 2015.
The Eagle Ford crude oil pipeline system, which transports crude oil and condensate for south Texas, is owned by Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (EPD). This system began operating last year with a transportation capacity of 300,000 barrels per day and a storage capacity of 1.8 million barrels per day. EPD is expanding this system in order to accommodate higher volumes of light and medium grades of crude oil by 170,000 barrels per day.
With more than 200 operators currently working in the Eagle Ford shale, many other companies are seeing returns on their investments in the Eagle Ford. Wood Mackenzie expects production in the Eagle Ford Shale to exceed the combined Bakken and Three Forks production of crude and condensate by as much as 16 percent by the year 2020, rivaling the production of the entire North Slope field in Alaska at its peak. The success of the Eagle Ford shale has the potential to help the country to become completely independent of foreign oil in the next couple of decades.
The local economy has also seen improvement. In San Antonio, the oil and gas industry’s job rate has increased by 121 percent since the beginning of the area’s energy boom five years ago. Nearly 10,000 people from the eight counties of the San Antonio metro area are employed in Eagle Ford fields.