Barnett Shale (Mississippian), Fort Worth Basin, Texas
By Kent A. Bowker, Bowker Petroleum, LLC
In December 2019, Devon Energy sold its remaining interests in the Barnett Shale to BKV Oil & Gas, a subsidiary of Banpu Pcl (a Thailand-based coal-mining and power-generating firm), for $770 million. This acquisition will make BKV the largest producer in the Barnett (Total, XTO/ExxonMobil, and EOG Resources round out the top four producers).
Daily gas production from the Barnett Shale continues to decline and has recently dropped to near 2.6 BCF/day, but at a rate less than might have been expected given the massive decrease in drilling and completion activity over the past eight years (Figure 1). Given that there is no prospect of development activity increasing soon, the Barnett can be used to verify production models of shale gas in terminal decline. The current daily oil/condensate production is at 2941 bbls (Figure 2; with condensate making up the bulk of the Barnett’s liquids production; daily oil production is currently around 560 bblbarrels).
Figure 3 illustrates the precipitous decline in the number of drilling permits issued in the Barnett over the last five years. Though at the beginning of 2020 there was a relative flurry of permit applications (thirteen in total) from TEP Barnett USA (a Total subsidiary) in Tarrant County, the following months have seen a lack of new permitting. The city of Arlington has rejected three of early 2020 applications (too close to a day-care facility), but Total is expected to drill several wells this year.
Since the play was established by Mitchell Energy in the late 1980s there has been at least some minimal drilling activity, but for the past few years there are usually no more than a rig or two working in the play.