In the early years of this century, U.S. pundits were showing charts and graphs indicating that the natural gas supplies coming from the Gulf of Mexico were in decline and the situation showed no signs of improving. But a quiet revolution already was taking place.
George Mitchell of Mitchell Energy, who had been laboring in the Barnett Shale for several years with little success, finally found the right recipe of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. And it was off to the races. Other shales followed: the Haynesville, Fayetteville, Marcellus, Utica, Eagle Ford, Bakken, etc. The country’s vast accumulation of shales, which had always been studiously avoided by drillers in the past, were suddenly being viewed as its salvation. When gas prices dropped due to oversupply, operators went after oil, ultimately leading to one of the industry’s most prolonged downturns.
In these pages you’ll find an interview with Steve Holditch, whom E&P interviewed 15 years ago when unconventional resources were still a glimmer on the horizon. Holditch looks back over those remarkable 15 years and postulates what might be next. We also take a look at some of the latest technological breakthroughs that help operators drill, complete and produce more efficiently in this low-price environment.
Read E&P's November cover stories:
An innovative method improves spatial sampling and adds complementary azimuths from new multisensor broadband acquisition to enrich existing seismic data.
Earth Science Analytics and TGS have combined the power of machine learning and historical data with the modern Utsira OBN survey.
Salt imaging has significantly improved throughout its evolution.