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The Eagle Ford Shale play is located primarily in 24 counties of southern Texas. It is one of the most active regions for oil and gas E&P in the United States. The Eagle Ford contains a high percentage of carbonate shale - upwards to 70% in south Texas. The higher percentage of carbonate makes the Eagle Ford shale more brittle and “fracable." This means the Eagle Ford is more capable of producing a higher percentage of oil (rather than natural gas) compared to the other traditional shale plays.

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EagleFord
According to data from the Texas Railroad Commission, the following chart summarizes Eagle Ford one-year (2009-2010) oil and gas E&P growth:
Eagle Ford Shale Oil and Gas Production Growth
Units
2009
2010
% Growth
OIL
barrels
307,366
2,596,263
745 %
GAS
Bcf
16
64
300 %
Drilling Permits Issued
94
1229
1207 %
There were 72 producing oil leases in 2010 and 40 producing oil leases in 2009. There were 67 producing gas wells in 2009 and 158 producing gas wells in 2010. The Eagle Ford may not get as much media attention as do the Bakken or Marcellus plays. However, it is clear there is a lot of action in the Eagle Ford and plenty of oil to be produced. In fact, it was the hottest oil play in the U.S. in 2010 although the acreage and land grab is starting to wind down.
So what companies are the major players in the Eagle Ford Shale?
Below is a chart summarizing my best estimation of current acreage holdings as a result of my online research of available sources (articles, press releases and company reports). This chart may not be up to date in terms of recent agreements and deals. It is meant to be a guideline for investors’ consideration rather than a definitive and completely accurate up-to-the-minute list. Information can be hard to find as many companies wish their actions to be private until further acreage agreements can be locked up. Much of the data shown is summarized from this website here.
Eagleford Shale Acreage Holdings
COMPANY
ACREAGE
Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK)
600,000 *
EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG)
520,000
Apache Corp (NYSE:APA)
450,000
Newfield Exploration (NYSE:NFX)
335,000 (85% interest)
Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD)
310,000 (gross)
Conoco Phillips (NYSE:COP)
300,000
Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC)
280,000
Petrohawk (NYSE:HK)
225,000
St. Mary Land & Exploration (NYSE:SM)
225,000
Forest Oil (NYSE:FST)
115,000
Swift Energy (NYSE:SFY)
79,000
Talisman Energy (NYSE:TLM)
78,000
Hess (NYSE:HES)
75,000
StatOil (NYSE:STO)
67,000 **
Rosetta Resources (NASDAQ:ROSE)
64,000
Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM)
50,000
Goodrich Petroleum (NYSE:GDP)
35,000
GeoResources (NASDAQ:GEOI)
22,000
Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO)
17,000 (option to purchase 58,000 more)
Penn Virginia (NYSE:PVA)
10,900
PetroQuest Energy (NYSE:PQ)
1,600
Crimson Exploration (NASDAQ:CXPO)
1,500
Comstock Resources (NYSE:CRK)
??
Gastar Exploration (NYSEMKT:GST)
??
Carrizo Oil & Gas (NASDAQ:CRZO)
??
*Chesapeake Energy sold a 33% stake in its acreage to China based CNOOC (NYSE:CEO) for $1.08 billion.
**StatOil acquired 67,000 acres of the Eagle Ford shale formation through agreements with Enduring Resources and Talisman Energy for $843 million (total consideration to STO).
Other than Conoco Phillips, the large integrated oil companies aren’t significantly represented in Eagle Ford shale play. That said, smaller E&P companies can present better opportunities to investors in terms of risk/reward. Choosing the big winners in Eagle Ford may well come down to who holds acreage more prolific in oil than natural gas. That determination is an exercise left to the reader.
Disclosure: I am long COP.
Source: Major Players in the Eagle Ford Shale