Map Of The Barnett Shale

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This map of the Barnett shale formation, from the USGS, shows the extent of the shale formation across Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Although the Barnett shale is quite extensive outside the Fort Worth basin it is not thick enough or rich enough in natural gas in most other areas for drilling to be productive.

Most of the drilling activity in the Barnett shale is currently located in what is known as the Fort Worth Basin although there have been successful gas wells discovered in other areas such as Oklahoma. As more exploratory drilling is done the full extent of the Barnett shale as a gas reservoir is being discovered. The Barnett shale reaches as far west as the Permian Basin to along the Rio Grande River.

Some exploratory drilling is being conducted in these areas including Reeves county by companies such as Petro Hunt Resources. source  The well in Reeves county was drilled to a length of 3100 feet and was producing 310 mcf of gas per day. Petro Hunt believes the short lateral is one reason for the marginal success of the well. As drilling techniques are refined and longer laterals can be drilled it is very possible that the Barnett Shale in West Texas could be the next edge of the gas play. More exploratory wells are planned to determine the potential for gas production from the Barnett shale in West Texas.

There remains hundreds of square miles of West Texas to be explored, including Reeves, Culberson and Pecos county, that the Wall Street journal referred to as "The Big Empty" for it's lack of population. In this area, also known as the Delaware Basin, both the Woodford and Barnett shales occur in sufficient thickness to be exploited for natural gas.


Natural gas bearing shale formations, hydraulic fracturing, frac job.

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