Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nat. Gas Drilling is Dying Everywhere. Not with Shale

The peakers' standard fallback with shale gas is it's too expensive, too energy-intensive to secure America's energy comfort despite the rich abundance. Well, despite the relative cost and the producers' recent money tumble, it appears shale gas interest remains vibrant:

On the Hayneville Shale,

Last August, Chesapeake Energy had only four rigs tapping into the Haynesville shale natural gas deposit in northwest Louisiana and east Texas. Now, the company has 24—and plans to add eleven more by next summer. Despite the economic downturn and the collapse of natural gas prices (now at a six-year low), energy companies like Chesapeake are charging into shale gas deposits because of the growing pressures for cleaner, abundant domestic energy.

The Star-Telegram remarks that while gas rigs are down, the rig count for the Barnett Shale (which is down from its October high) has been holding steady as of late...

The number of rigs drilling for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by 10 this week, to 918, the lowest level in over six years, Bloomberg News reported Friday based on data from Houston-based oil-field services firm Baker Hughes. The rig count has fallen 54 percent from 1,992 on Nov. 7. In Texas, the rig count dropped by 13, to 342. Nationally, rigs drilling for oil fell by nine, to 181, the lowest since the summer of 2005. Rigs drilling for gas fell by two, to 728, the lowest level since early 2003. But the rig count was stable Friday at 77 in the Barnett Shale gas play, unchanged from a week earlier, RigData reported. Thirty-one rigs were drilling in Tarrant County, up four. There were 12 active rigs in both Johnson and Wise counties. While Barnett drilling has plunged from its peak of 214 rigs in October, the 77 working rigs represent over 10 percent of gas drilling in the U.S.

Petrohawk is flyin' high...

Petrohawk Energy Corporation ("Petrohawk" or the "Company") (HK 22.77, -1.37, -5.68%) today announced its first quarter 2009 operational results, including updated drilling results from the Haynesville Shale, and the results of core analysis and recent wells completed in the Eagle Ford Shale.

Production for the quarter was approximately 412 million cubic feet of natural gas equivalent per day (Mmcfe/d), a 14% quarter over quarter increase and a 58% increase over first quarter 2008. During the quarter, Petrohawk drilled 165 gross wells, of which 34 were operated, with a success rate of 99%.

Petrohawk utilized eight horizontal rigs on average in the Haynesville Shale during the first quarter, not including spudder rigs. A total of 15 operated and 16 non-operated wells were drilled. Of the operated wells, 11 were on production at the end of the quarter. Additionally, five operated wells drilled in late 2008 were put on production, bringing the total number of Haynesville Shale wells completed by the end of first quarter to 28. The average initial production rate for operated wells completed during the quarter ranged from 3.3 Mmcfe/d to 24.8 Mmcfe/d, averaging 17.1 Mmcfe/d. The average initial production rate for all operated Haynesville Shale completions to date, excluding two previously reported wells that were mechanically compromised, is approximately 18.0 Mmcfe/d.

So despite the cheap gas eviornment and shale gas's expense, it seems the producers are going after the "hard and costly" gas, not the "cheap and easy" gas.

- Brewskie

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