The Re-Emergence Of The Haynesville Shale

By Don Briggs
Article and photo re-published courtesy of the

The oil and gas industry could not be more diverse in Louisiana. In south Louisiana, in particular, the industry is experiencing historically low and stagnant rig growth, while the rest of the country sees a resurgence in rig activity. In northwest Louisiana, there is a glimmer of hope for the oil and gas sector, and that driving force is the Haynesville Shale.

The Haynesville Shale formation is a layer of sedimentary rock situated more than 10,000 feet below the surface and stretches from northwest Louisiana to parts of eastern Texas and also grabs the southwest part of Arkansas. The formation covers an area of approximately 9,000 squares miles and averages between 200 and 300 feet in thickness. It accounts for the third largest shale play with the potential of holding nearly 500 trillion cubic feet of gas.

At one point in time, this formation was thought to be too financially burdensome to explore, but with advances in hydraulic fracturing, directional drilling, and a spike in energy costs, companies began to explore. What they found was vast amounts of recoverable natural gas known as shale gas.

This discovery would eventually lead to the Haynesville Shale boom between 2008 and 2010. It was estimated that during 2009, approximately $10.6 billion in new business sales, nearly $5.7 billion in household earnings, and nearly 58,000 new jobs were created.

Unfortunately, in recent years, the Haynesville has been pushed out of the way in favor of more low-cost plays such as the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York areas, and Utica Shale in Quebec. Due to the northeast’s lack of pipeline infrastructure and their shut-in production, the Haynesville is becoming more attractive again. Doug Lawler, CEO of Chesapeake, said it best, “[The Haynesville] was largely written off by industry two to three years ago, but it has reemerged stronger than ever.”

Louisiana’s access to the gulf, abundance of pipelines and processing plants, along with the industry’s advancements in drilling technology, has led to a resurgence in the Haynesville Shale. Just last March output from Haynesville fell to a six year low. Production in this formation will now climb for the seventh straight month in June, reaching the highest since October 2014.

The infrastructure needed to export and process the natural gas produced from the Haynesville is contingent upon economic growth in Louisiana. As of January 2017, there were six LNG Export terminals approved, two of which are currently under construction. Even more recently, Venture Global announced an $8.5 billion LNG complex, G2 LNG is planning for an $11 billion natural gas facility, Magnolia LNG announced a planned $3.45 billion facility, and Cheniere shipped over 100 cargoes of domestic LNG starting back in February.

As stated in a Forbes article, “Louisiana [has] an underrated edge because oil/gas production is ingrained in the culture.” The Haynesville Shale was once a shale play left for dead, but now we are seeing the reemergence that could completely change the game for Louisiana. This culture of oil and gas production that hailed from generations past must be realized. This culture and tradition must be carried on for decades to come for the sake of Louisiana.

4 thoughts on “The Re-Emergence Of The Haynesville Shale

  1. Even during those EPA Mafia years, oil and gas managed to become the number one and two producers in the world…. what’s your complaint?

  2. As we try to repair our coastal wetlands from subsidence caused in large part by the fossil fuel industry, while we simultaneously combat sea level rise caused by burning fossil fuels, be careful of encouraging industry interest in the Northwest portion of our state. Pennsylvania is dealing with earthquakes and poisoned ground water from their fracking. The industry pays little to no tax to the state, because they spun the PR to focus on jobs.
    This is not a great opportunity for Louisiana, this is yet another way for our state to be damaged. Our comfort with the industry is only an advantage to the industry, not to our people, economic situation, or wildlife.
    You know what else we have an abundance of? Sunshine and wind. We need to move away from fossil fuels and start using the economically feasible and technically possible renewable forms of energy. Oil will run out in about 60 years, unless we greatly reduce our use of it. If we haven’t prepared for that before it happens, we will face serious consequences.

    • Actually, I work in PA, LA, and other areas of the country. Poisoned ground water and earthquakes are not the result of fracking, as the OP said. If you will care to research your answer, you will find that the independent study commissioned by the federal government during the “EPA-Mafia growth years” – otherwise known as the Obama Administration- found that fracking had no impact on these issues. They also found that the ‘poisoned’ ground water was actually surfactant mixed with the ground water and these issues have been fixed through regulation and increased HSE standards, which is strictly adhered to. For the layman—-surfactant is essentially soap. As far as the ‘rise in sea levels’ goes, this has not been proven. The coastal erosion is happening, but there is no indication that it is the result of fossil fuels. Back up your environmental rant with facts and accurate research. Fossil fuels will not run out in 60 years, either….this would only happen if we intended to completely stop drilling for fossil fuels (the estimate is figured at current production with current reported reserves).
      Incidentally—when you get a chance, look up the result of strip mining for lithium for these so-called environmentally friendly hybrid car batteries. They destroy the environment in the name of being green. If you care to look at the way the oil industry leaves a location when they’re finished you will see that due to regulations and enforcement we are required to go above and beyond and leave it better in most cases than when the rig first arrived.

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