Eagle Ford Reaches 1-Billion Barrels - Nov. 2014

The Eagle Ford Shale is arguably the largest single economic event in Texas history, and in November, the play reached a milestone of 1-billion barrels produced, according to energy research consultancy Wood Mackenzie. In the past seven years, the Eagle Ford Shale has drastically changed the landscape of South Texas in both positive and negative ways. Oil wealth has injected billions of dollars into the coffers of land owners with subsurface mineral rights, and Eagle Ford counties though an increase in ad valorem property taxes. However, damage to infrastructure (i.e. local county roads) and environmental concerns have also come with the territory as the Eagle Ford has been developed.

Overall, the Eagle Ford has been a positive force for economic growth in Texas, yielding an $87-billion economic impact in South Texas, and supporting more than 155,000 full-time jobs in 2013, according to the Univ. of Texas at San Antonio's Institute for Economic Development.

Read more: UTSA: Eagle Ford Shale Economic Impact - $87 Billion

Eagle Ford Moving Forward in 2015

Despite a dip in oil prices, Wood Mackenzie reports the lion's share of industry Lower 48 development capital will be in the Eagle Ford in 2015 at $30.8-billion. That's almost double the amount companies plan to spend in the Bakken Shale, the country's next most significant shale play. Expect much of that capital to be funneled into roughly 10% of the Eagle Ford Shale, which accounts for about 50% of the play's total production.

Eagle Ford Facts at the 1-Billion Barrel Mark

  •  4 years of gasoline for every licensed driver in Texas from the Eagle Ford
  • More than 10,000 Eagle Ford wells have been completed
  • The Eagle Ford accounts for 16% of U.S. oil production
  • Drilling pipe used to date in the play would reach 1.25 times around the world
  • The Houston, TX Astrodome could be filled 6 times by the volume of proppant used in the Eagle Ford

Eagle Ford Reaches One Billion Barrels of Crude

alt="Eagle Ford at One Billion Barrels"
alt="Eagle Ford at One Billion Barrels"

Amidst falling crude prices and dire predictions about the future of the industry, Wood Mackenzie announced that Eagle Ford reached an impressive milestone in November as production topped one billion barrels. Over the past two years, production in the Eagle Ford play has exploded and elevated the area as a major force in the world energy market.

It puts the Eagle Ford in elite company on the world scale. It makes it even more clear that this is a world-class play.
— Analyst, Cody Rice

The boom in shale production from Eagle Ford began in 2008 as horizontal drilling was introduced in La Salle County and now encompasses a 30 county area across South Texas. The national impact of Eagle Ford shale cannot be overstated, and it is estimated that 16% of total U.S. oil is now coming from the play. Analysts predict that production will remain high through 2015. Energy research consultancy IHS estimates U.S. shale production will grow by 700,000 b/d at an average price of $77 per barrel in 2015.

In additional to Eagle Ford’s contribution to the global market, it is likely that the greatest benefit from this historic drilling boom is being experienced by local Texas communities. Billions of investment dollars are bringing jobs and economic growth to many small Texas towns and revitalizing formerly depressed areas.

Read more: Eagle Ford Ghost Town Coming Back to Life

Texas Oil Production Reaches Levels Not Seen Since the 70s

U.S. Oil Production
U.S. Oil Production

The "good ol' days" for the oil and gas industry are back in Texas! The Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently released data showing the state produced just over 3 million b/d of crude oil in April of 2014, reaching production levels not seen in the state since the 70s.

Many Texans remember well the oil bust of the early 80s, when the price of oil fell drastically, and what followed was a blight on the states' economy. A steady decline in oil production, which began in 1972, and fell sharply after the bust, signaled the state's oil boom days were likely over for good. But now Texas along with the rest of the U.S. is on track to become the top oil producer in the world by 2015, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The EIA said in the month of April, Texas and North Dakota, which encompasses the prolific Bakken Shale play, made up nearly half of U.S. oil production (48%).

The rise in Texas' oil production is thanks in large part to the tight oil and shale gas revolution in the Eagle Ford, and made possible by advancements in horizontal drilling and fracking technology. The Permian Basin in West Texas, a major oil producing area in the state for years, has also seen an increase in horizontal drilling since the end of 2013, and many of the areas untapped oil reserves are being accessed by the technology.

Read more: Why Horizontal Drilling is Important to Texas Oil Production

Texas Surpasses Iraq's Oil Production

The EIA's data is yet another indication of America's re-emerging prominence as a leader in world-wide oil production. In June of 2014, Iraq's production fell 400,000 b/d to 2.9 million, due to violence and civil unrest flaring up in the country, according to Bloomberg. That means Texas has likely surpassed Iraq's oil production, since Texas' production has increased on a month-to-month basis since 2011. Iraq was rated as the second largest OPEC producer in April at 3.2 million b/d.

Read more at bloomberg.com

Texas Could Be the Eighth Largest Oil Producer in the World by Year End

The Eagle Ford boom is nothing new to our readers, but it is good to pause and take inventory every now and again. Did you know, if Texas continues on the same growth trajectory, the state will rank as the eighth largest oil producing country in the world. We're not a country, but we're close and Texas is on track to pass Iraq, Kuwait, and Mexico in 2014. Texas produced 2.75 million b/d in October 2013, which is the highest rate in more than 30 years.

As a whole, the U.S. is doing very well and could become the largest oil producing country in the world if the current boom is extended. The U.S. produced 7.75 million b/d in October 2013, which is the highest total in more than 25 years.

US Oil Production History
US Oil Production History

The IEA noted that U.S. oil production grew faster in absolute terms in 2013 than any other country in over two decades. The final numbers aren't quite in, but it looks like the U.S. grew production more than 15% or ~1 million b/d in 2013.

Oil Production Growth Will Challenge the Oil Export Ban

More production will put additional pressure on the oil export ban in the U.S. The Gulf Coast in particular has more capacity to refine heavy crude oil, but the Eagle Ford and other growing plays are yielding a higher quality light-sweet crude oil. That means there could be opportunities where exporting our high quality crude and importing cheaper heavy crude could make economic sense.

There are some who believe we should keep all of the oil at home, but that might come at a cost. It will be interesting to see what happens later in 2014. If we have another year like 2013 in terms of oil production growth across the U.S., it will be difficult not to make some exceptions to the oil export ban.