The New York Times article, that has gotten more publicity than it deserves, failed to mention the thriving economics of the booming shale oil plays. The Eagle Ford Shale and Bakken Shale both look good under current commodity prices. There are also many other liquids-rich plays, like the Granite Wash, that are activity drilled even at today's natural gas prices.
"But the articles largely ignore the economics of the Eagle Ford Shale and other unconventional fields that produce large amounts of high-value oil, condensate and natural gas liquids such as butane, ethane and propane. In general, exploration and production firms have shifted production from dry-gas fields to liquids-rich plays that offer superior profitability. Many investors have picked up on this distinction; stocks of companies that have failed to make this transition have underperformed.""Many leasing contracts require operators to sink a commercially viable well within an established period to secure the acreage."
"This involuntary drilling activity catalyzed a wave of joint ventures and acquisitions that have occurred in recent years--an important source of capital to support these programs. Many of the acquirers are large, integrated energy companies that boast bulletproof balance sheets and can afford to take a long-term view on natural gas prices and demand."
"For example, Marathon Oil Corp (NYSE: MRO) paid $3.5 billion for 141,000 acres (about $21,000 per acre) in the Eagle Ford Shale from Hilcorp Resources Holdings LP. The deal surpassed Korea National Oil Corp paid $16,000 per acre to Anadarko Petroleum Corp (NYSE: APC) to establishing a foothold in this hot shale play."
Read the full news release at investingdaily.com