The Haynesville Shale
A new frontier in natural gas production
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“‘We are growing production almost without trying,’ Petrohawk Energy CEO Floyd Wilson said. ‘These wells are maybe twice as good as they were a year ago, and who knows where they will be in a year or two. The technology is still improving almost week by week.’”3
With the growing popularity and improving technology of hydraulic fracturing (frac pumping), natural gas is being more easily extracted from shale deposits, but with greater expense and greater wear on the pumping equipment (as discussed in Doug Walser’s article on page 34).
While concerns about fracturing’s potential effects on the environment are ever-present, it remains the most effective method for natural gas production in shale deposits, and the technology continues to evolve. Some companies, at the request of the EPA, have made their frac fluid’s contents public, while others have changed their frac fluid’s composition to make them more environmentally friendly. As mentioned in Lee Fuller’s article on page 19, the oil and gas community is also working together to create a nationwide registry of the chemical components used in the hydraulic fracturing process.
Hydraulic fracture mapping site in the Haynesville
One Louisiana Landowner’s Experience
Imagine waking one morning and realizing that you own land sitting above part of the largest natural gas shale in the U.S. Many people would react by jumping at the first offer, and many did. However, Keith Mauck’s reaction was to research, wait and launch a website (www.gohaynesvilleshale.com) to help landowners like him understand the process and their options.
In 2008, Mauck’s uncle was approached and called to tell him, cautioning Mauck not to take the first offer…then his uncle immediately accepted the first offer. Instead of making a quick decision, Mauck went to landowner meetings and decided that the lease amounts were “not going to bottom out anytime soon.” So, he continued to wait. However, natural gas prices decreased, and he was concerned that he had made a mistake. In 2010, the prices increased again, and in fall 2010, he signed his lease.