The tight oil and shale gas revolution has been made possible largely by horizontal drilling and fracking technology. Although the controversial process of fracking tends to dominate the headlines, advancements made in horizontal drilling have allowed operators to precisely access more of the shale rock layer than was thought possible even a decade ago.
As of this writing, 237 rigs in the Eagle Ford are drilling horizontal wells, which accounts for 88% of all rig activity in the play. Without a doubt, horizontal drilling dominates the Eagle Ford play, not to mention the next most significant shale play, the Bakken Shale, where horizontal drilling also reigns supreme. On our sister site, BakkenShale.com, horizontal drilling in our coverage area accounts for nearly 90% of all active rigs.
Horizontal Drilling Ramps Up in the Permian Basin
Although the Eagle Ford is by far the top producer in the state of Texas, it is not the top dog for horizontal drilling. Rather, its the Permian Basin that currently wears that crown. For years, much of the oil produced in the state came from West Texas, and although the spotlight has recently shifted to the Eagle Ford, the Permian appears to be ramping up for a revolution of its own.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, since the end of 2013, the number of horizontal rigs in the Permian Basin have increased dramatically. From December 27, 2013, to the week ending on May 9, 2014, the number of horizontal, oil-directed rigs in the Permian Basin rose by 63 rigs, which accounts for 50% of the total increase in the United States.
At the beginning of 2013, both the Eagle Ford Shale and the Bakken Shale, exceeded the Permian Basin in the number of oil-directed horizontal drilling rigs. By the end of 2013, the Permian Basin's 215 rigs surpassed both the Eagle Ford and Bakken, which at that time had 173 and 164 rigs, respectively. During the first quarter of 2014, the increase in oil-directed horizontal rigs in the Permian Basin was more than four times the combined increase in the Eagle Ford and Williston Basin.
Read more at eia.gov