Eagle Ford Capital Spending Makes the Play the Largest in the World

Eagle Ford Capital Expenses
Eagle Ford Capital Expenses

Did you know? The Eagle Ford now ranks as the largest single oil and gas development in the world based on capital expenditures. That means more will be invested in the South Texas oil play than any other single oil and gas development in the world! That's the headline takeaway from a recent report released by Wood Mackenzie Analyst Callan McMahon.

The report notes that BHP, ConocoPhillips, and EOG Resources have a combined value of more than $30 billion in the Eagle Ford. That number likely doubles when you add other large players like Anadarko, Chesapeake, Lewis Energy, Marathon Oil, Murphy, Pioneer, and Talisman. If natural gas prices recover to more than $5/mmbtu, it's quite possible more than $100 billion in value has been created by operators across the Eagle Ford.

Some of these numbers can be difficult to put into perspective, but US$28 billion would put one at roughly the median country annual GDP.
— Mr. McMahon

In terms of costs, Wood Mackenzie notes the play will likely surpass the Kashagan project in Kazakhstan, which will have an estimated $116 billion invested in the coming years. At the current rate of spending in the Eagle Ford, the play will surpass the the Kashagan project in as little as four years.

"With US$28 billion in capex being spent in 2013 and development now in full swing, the excitement in the Eagle Ford Shale and value being extracted from the play continues to exceed expectations." explains Callan McMahon, Upstream Research Analyst for Wood Mackenzie.

Eagle Ford Shale From Space - NASA
Eagle Ford Shale From Space - NASA

Other highlights from the report include:

  • Growth from zero to more than 700,000 b/d of oil and natural gas liquids (NGLS) in three years
  • Eagle Ford is the top liquids producing shale in the world with Q3 volumes of 1 million boe/d (Bakken ranks #1 for oil production alone)
  • DeWitt, Gonzales, and Karnes counties account for 50% of liquids production
  • 74% of estimated future activity will target liquids areas (this changes if natural gas prices go up)
  • Capacity constraints have eased
  • The Eagle Ford accounts for 38% and 20% of EOG's and BHP's upstream value, respectively
  • In 2013, the play will account for 27% of all upstream spend in the Lower 48

Mr. McMahon added: "Being located near the coast allows Eagle Ford realized (oil and gas) price fluctuations to be mitigated through being linked to a global price index. Additionally, a number of upsides remain in the form of downspacing, increases in natural gas prices, increases in well performance, decreases in well costs and increases in operational efficiencies on the crowded surface of the Eagle Ford."

Read the entire press release at woodmacresearch.com