There has been much said of the Eagle Ford formation in Texas. This area has seen some very good initial production numbers. In Bakken Update: Williston Basin Estimated Ultimate Recoveries And What They Tell Us, I used current EURs to show possible upside to different areas of the middle Bakken. This article will focus on the Eagle Ford, and its current EURs. These estimates can be used to not only compare resource recovery, but also show where the best acreage is.
There are some very large differences between the Bakken and Eagle Ford. First, the Bakken has greater total recoverable resource at 18-24 billion barrels -- a Continental (NYSE:CLR) estimate -- while the Eagle Ford is estimated to have 3 billion. The Bakken is currently producing 510000 barrels/day, which is more than the Eagle Ford's total potential output of 420,000 barrels/day. The Eagle Ford is 400 miles long and 50 miles wide. It has an average thickness of 250 feet, and is at depths of 4,000 to 12,000 feet. The Bakken covers 200,000 square miles, and reaches a thickness of 130 feet.
The Bakken and Eagle Ford also differ in resource types. Throughout the Bakken, we see the percentage of liquids production from the mid to high nineties. This percentage is fairly uniform throughout the Bakken, although production is much better in some areas than others. The Eagle Ford has large swings in content of oil, natural gas liquids, and natural gas. The Eagle Ford is oil dominant in the west. To the east the oil production declines slightly and natural gas liquids production increases. The eastern most section becomes a play on dry gas. These areas are divided into "windows". Different companies use different names for these windows, and in some cases increase the number of windows to four. The western section is oil dominant:
- 78% Oil
- 11% Natural Gas Liquids
- 11% Dry Gas
- 45% Oil
- 25% Natural Gas Liquids
- 30% Dry Gas
The eastern window is referred to as the dry gas window and the majority of production comes from this resource. Given the large percentage of gas, this window is not being as aggresively developed, when compared to the other liquids heavy windows.
Each window has a very different make up of reserves, and these percentages are some what constant. These percentages change more from east to west than north to south. EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG) backs this ascertion as it has had consistent results from the southwest to the northeast in the condensate window. This is unlike the Bakken, which has had large variations in results. These variations produce difficulty in knowing how good recoveries will be from one area to the other.
There are several ways to show the promise of well production. Focusing on resource alone shows little, as it does not always show how profitable the play is. There are other factors, such as time that are also important. Depletion seems to be a big concern in horizontal wells, but these wells provide a large payback in a very short period of time. Acre spacing also factors into an acreage's profitability.
- Maverick, Dimmit and Webb counties: 450+ Mboe
Marathon (NYSE:MRO) EURs are:
- Black Oil Window (Frio, Atascosa, Wilson, and Gonzales counties): 445 Mboe
- Volatile Oil Window (McMullen, S Atascosa, Karnes, N DeWitt, S Gonzales, and N Lavaca): 645 Mboe
- Condensate Window (Live Oak, Bee, Karnes, DeWitt, Lavaca): 965 Mboe
- DeWitt County: 1100 Mboe
- Most acreage in liquids rich (Webb, La Salle, McMullen, Live Oak, Karnes, and DeWitt counties): 660 Mboe
- La Salle, McMullen, Atascosa, and Frio counties: 400 Mboe
- Fayette, Atascosa, and Gonzales counties: 350-500 Mboe
- Gonzales County: 370-613 Mboe
- Gonzales and Lavaca counties: 422 Mboe
- Southeast Frio, southwest Atascosa, and northeast La Salle counties: 439 Mboe
- East Atascosa, south Wilson, and west Karnes: 300-500 Mboe
- Karnes County: 500 Mbo
SwiftEnergy (SFY]] EURs are:
- Oil Window: 395 Mboe
- High Yield Condensate Window: 615 Mboe
- Low Yield Condensate Window: 1150 Mboe
- Southern Frio and northern La Salle: 475 Mboe
- Wilson County: 360 Mboe
The Eagle Ford is one of the best unconventional plays in the United States. EURs can vary a significantly from one producer to another. There are several reasons for this, as it could be geological differences or human error creating the variance. Keep in mind that these Eagle Ford wells are 4,000 to 6,000 foot laterals as opposed to the 10,000 foot laterals in the Bakken. More information is needed in both the Bakken and Eagle Ford, but these numbers can be used as a starting point when looking for a good investment.
Disclaimer: This is an article on estimated ultimate recovery in the Eagle Ford. It is not a buy recommendation.