The Eagle Ford Shale Is Bursting at the Seams

It may be a matter of months before production in the Eagle Ford shale play catches up to its Bakken cousin. According to the latest Baker Hughes rig count, there are more rigs drilling in the South Texas play than in the entire state of North Dakota. Today we're looking at the latest production numbers out of the Eagle Ford, and how it's affecting our investments.

Numbers up
The Texas Railroad Commission said oil production in the Eagle Ford averaged 530,689 barrels per day in April. But this is just a preliminary number. The commission also released its revised numbers for February, lifting that number from 529,874 up to 561,544. That's a 6% pop that results basically from handing paperwork in late. I imagine that two months from now we'll learn that April's production was closer to 570,000 bpd than 530,000 bpd, but only time will tell.

Production results have fueled record numbers for producers big and small, including EOG Resources (NYSE: EOG  ) and Carrizo Oil & Gas (NASDAQ: CRZO  ) . EOG is the largest producer in the play, and production has exceeded management's expectations, reaching 153,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day by the end of the first quarter of this year. Carrizo is a much smaller operation, but its production has also exceeded management's expectations, reaching 9,500 bpd in the second quarter.

A fond farewell?
Many companies have abandoned capital expenditure plans in other plays to put more money behind their Eagle Ford ventures. Reuters recently reported that Talisman Energy (NYSE: TLM  ) is considering selling its 74,000-acre stake in the play, potentially looking to raise a whopping $2 billion. Given the money that companies are willing to pour into the Eagle Ford, it just might find a buyer. Talisman's joint venture with Statoil (NYSE: STO  ) is targeting production of 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent by the end of this year, which would double last year's number.

A look ahead
Despite these record numbers, by most accounts the Eagle Ford is just getting started. Tens of billions of dollars are being invested in the play this year, which means there will likely be many bright days ahead for South Texas. In fact, parts of the play have barely been tapped into. Consider the work that Halcon Resources (NYSE: HK  ) is doing in the East Texas portion of the play. The company announced earlier this month that production results from the last two wells it drilled are 18% higher than any well it has drilled in the area so far. On top of that, the output is 94% crude oil.

Everything is bigger in Texas, and in the case of the Eagle Ford shale, it's getting bigger still.

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