A Texas-Sized Gusher From the Eagle Ford

Photo Credit: Flickr/Jonathan Wheeler

An EOG Resources (NYSE: EOG  ) operated well in the Eagle Ford Shale of Texas has set a new regional record for oil production. The well produced an average of 7,513 barrels of oil per day along with 6.8 million cubic feet of natural gas. It's estimated that even with a 75% decline rate from the well it will produce more than a million barrels of oil this year. But, it's really just a drop in the bucket for a company that produced 153,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day out of the Eagle Ford last quarter.

However, the well does highlight the company's recent success in the play, which included nine wells drilled last quarter that reached initial production of more than 3,500 barrels of oil per day. Overall, the company's position in the Eagle Ford will be a big driver in EOG's ability to meet its goal to grow its oil production by 28% year over year.

What's most interesting about this well is that it has the potential to produce more than a million barrels of oil within the next year. The average estimated ultimate recovery for one of EOG's average Eagle Ford wells is about 400,000 barrels of oil equivalent, making this well truly special. It also sets this well apart from the nation's other top shale oil fields.

For example, the average Bakken well is estimated to ultimately produce around 600,000 barrels of oil equivalent. It's those high ultimate recovery rates which make the investments really pay off for producers over the long term. For example, Continental Resources (NYSE: CLR  ) will see a 60% rate of return on wells it drills today as long as oil stays over $100 per barrel. Although, that is still below the well economics enjoyed by EOG in the Eagle Ford, which are currently about 100%. Wells simply cost more to drill in the Bakken, which puts some pressure on rates of return. 

They key though is that the more oil that's produced, the better returns are for producers. The returns of both the Bakken and Eagle Ford are what's enticing producers to flock to those two plays. Meanwhile, lower-return plays, such as the Mississippian, aren't drawing as much attention. The Miss is only about 45% oil, which is why a producer like SandRidge (NYSE: SD  ) is only seeing internal rates of return of 40%... not that there is anything wrong with a 40% return. SandRidge would need natural gas to be in the $5.50-$6.00 range in order to see returns like those in the Bakken or Eagle Ford, as its average well will only produce about 100,000 barrels of oil in totality, though the estimated ultimate recoveries of its wells are 369,000 barrels of oil equivalent when factoring in natural gas and liquids.

For perspective, this one EOG well has the potential to produce 10 times the oil of a typical SandRidge well this year, which means that its economics will truly be remarkable. However, given the massive projected decline rate of between 75%-90%, the well's gusher won't last all that long, making it really just an interesting side note for a company expected to drill about 425 wells in the Eagle Ford this year. That's not to say that this well isn't important; it will be really interesting to see if EOG has stumbled upon a better way to drill its Eagle Ford wells, which could really boost its output, estimated ultimate recoveries, and, best of all, returns. 

EOG is really one of the leaders behind record oil and natural gas production, which is revolutionizing the United States' energy position. Finding the right plays while historic amounts of capital expenditures are flooding the industry could really help to fuel your retirement. That is why the Motley Fool is offering a comprehensive look at three energy companies set to soar during this transformation in the energy industry. To find out which three companies are spreading their wings, check out the special free report, "3 Stocks for the American Energy Bonanza". Don't miss out on this timely opportunity; click here to access your report -- it's absolutely free. 


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2552390, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 11/27/2014 3:53:32 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you

Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early-in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!


Advertisement