Monday, October 1, 2007

Extraction Methods for Natural Gas in the Barnett Shale

The Barnett Natural Gas Field is contained within a very hard sedimentary rock formation called Shale. Shale is a fine-grained rock made up of ancient compacted clays or mud. Until recently the Barnett Shale Gas Fields were largely untapped due to the difficulty and cost to extract the gas. The recent increase in natural gas prices along with improvements in extraction methods has made it possible to produce wells in the Barnett Shale that are commercially viable.

One of the improved extraction methods is called Hydraulic Fracturing. First developed in the United States 1948, Hydraulic Fracturing simply creates fractures that extend from a borehole into rock formations. A hydraulic fracture is formed by pumping a fracturing fluid into the well bore at a rate sufficient to increase the pressure down the bore hole fracturing the surrounding rock formation.

In order to keep this fracture open after the injection stops, a solid proppant is added to the fracture fluid. The proppant, which is commonly a sieved round sand, is pumped into the fracture. This sand is chosen to be higher in permeability than the surrounding formation and the propped hydraulic fracture then becomes a conduit through which the fluids can be produced back to the well.

Another recently improved method is Directional or Horizontal Drilling. Horizontal Drilling is the science of drilling non-vertical wells. Directional drillers are given a well path to follow that is predetermined by engineers and geologists before the drilling starts. Once the drilling starts, periodic surveys are taken with a camera instrument to provide survey data such as inclination and azimuth of the well bore.

Since major portions of the Texas Barnett Shale Gas Field are covered by development, Horizontal Drilling has to be used to reach areas without disrupting the day to day life for residences, schools, and businesses in the area.

Much of the gas in the Texas Barnett Shale is lodged beneath the City of Fort Worth. Horizontal Drilling has helped create a financial win fall for the city.

In 2005–2007 horizontal drilling in the Texas Barnett Shale extended south into Johnson, Hill, and Bosque counties, with a 100% success rate on completed wells.

About the Author:
Chris Jent is Chief Marketing Officer of Triple Diamond Energy Corporation. Triple Diamond Energy Corporation is an independent producer of oil and natural gas. Located in the Dallas area, the company specializes in acquiring the highest quality prime oil and gas properties.