For decades, the wide countryside north of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex concealed a sleeping giant of a gas field. The thick, pervasive Barnett Shale was well known to local geologists-the Mississippian-age formation is a rich, organic shale that had sourced many of the conventional accumulations in and around the Fort Worth Basin. But, it was tight as a tombstone. Most everyone considered it hopeless as a potential reservoir.

Mitchell Energy & Development Corp., however, believed in the shale. It spent two decades patiently experimenting with the Barnett, plying the recalcitrant reservoir with the latest engineering advances. The Woodlands, Texas-based independent was merged into Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy Corp. in January in a deal valued at $3.5 billion. Devon gained 2.5 trillion cubic feet equivalent (Tcfe) of proved gas reserves, almost 300,000 net acres of undeveloped land, 9,000 miles of pipelines and six gas-processing plants, entirely in Texas. The Barnett Shale alone accounted for 2.1 Tcfe of Mitchell's proven reserves. Moreover, it appears that the Barnett Shale still offers generous growth potential.

Devon sees the Barnett as a unique, unconventional gas resource that provides both low-risk development growth in production and reserves and long-term growth potential through exploration and future technical advances.

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