Thursday, December 31, 2009

[Top 10] Honorable Mentions

Looking back over the stories selected for the Haynesville Play 2009 Top Ten, I note that most stories are “macro” in nature and are not so much reflective of news on the ground. To me, the big theme for 2009 was the “adolescence” of the play. The land rush is over and the production has begun in earnest, but it is still in the early stages. While there are big wells being produced, the future of the play is still unknown. Shale plays are reshaping the energy landscape in the U.S., but at the same time outside events are impacting the future of the shale plays. As a result, I saw many of the external issues with long-term implications as somewhat more important than the daily news.

But, not being one to declare my editorial genius, here are some of the stories that barely missed the cut:
  • Chesapeake, Petrohawk announce they have hit 500 MMcf/day production levels. That’s a lot of production for a couple of companies in a play that is only two years old.
  • Devon hits a big well in San Augustine Co. TX. The Kardell Gas Unit #1, also owned by Crimson Exploration, came in with a 30.7 MMcf/day initial production rate, stoking greater interest in the southern part of the Haynesville Shale, especially on the Texas side.
  • Safety. This past year saw several accidents that resulted in death and injury. While drilling is widely recognized as a dangerous occupation, the high pressure wells of the Haynesville Play can be particularly dangerous.  With another serious injury on a well earlier this week, the issue isn't going away.
  • Groundwater. This story seems to be resolving itself as producers play nice and work to find water sources other than the fragile aquifers of north Louisiana.
  • Naysayers. There are some prominent energy industry professionals like Matt Simmons and Arthur Berman very publicly criticizing shale gas. While their arguments have been contested by others, some doubt persists. There is not enough definitive data to say who is right, nor is it possible to separate the fact and analysis from an underlying agenda than an individual might have. We’ll just have to watch the drama play out in 2010.
Happy New Year!

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