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The Eagle Ford Shale

What is the Eagle Ford Shale?

Background

Huma Munir of KUT researched and reported this article.

What is it?

The Eagle Ford Shale is a gas and oil producing site situated in South Texas. It’s 400 miles long and 50 miles wide, touching the Mexican border and reaching all the way up to East Texas, according to the Railroad Commission of Texas. 70 percent of the rocks used to produce oil and gas are brittle in nature and thus perfect for fracking, according to the website. Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is typically used in the Eagle Ford, where wells are drilled deep underground vertically, then moved horizontally into shale beds. From there, a mixture of water, sand and chemicals is pressure-blasted into the rock to release deposits of oil and gas. Hydraulic fracturing is one of the primary ways manufacturers retrieve natural gas today, used in nine out of ten of the country’s natural gas wells.

The Eagle Ford Shale is unique in the sense that it produces both oil and gas. The gas comes in two forms, wet and dry.

The Houston Chronicle reported last year that the Eagle Ford Shale has become the heart of economic activity in Texas. The shale is also attracting foreign companies that are becoming one of the largest employers in the state, according to the paper. A UTSA study suggests there will be 5,000 new wells by 2020, which may add 68,000 full-time jobs in Texas. The economic output could be as big as $21.5 billion, according to the study.

Notable Statistics

In 2011, there were 368 producing oil leases and 550 gas wells. From January to October 2011, Eagle Ford Shale produced more than 13 million barrels of oil, according to the Railroad Commission of Texas.

Here is a map of the Eagle Ford Shale from the Railroad Commission of Texas:

Map by the Railroad Commission of Texas

The Eagle Ford Shale

History

The Eagle Ford Shale is named after the town of Eagle Ford located about six miles west of Dallas. The oil and gas producing site was first discovered by Petrohawk— an independent oil and natural gas company—  in 2008. Today the site is used by other independent contractors such as Geo Souther, SM Energy, Lewis Petro, and Pioneer.

 

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