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Hughes report on the future of fracking at DeSmogBlog

October 21, 2019

Post Carbon Fellow David Hughes’ 2019 report How Long Will The Shale Revolution Last: Technology versus Geology and the Lifecycle of Shale Plays, was quoted in this article on whether fracking will peak before ever making money.

From the article:

Perhaps the most important fact in the Wall Street Journal’s recent story was only mentioned once: “sweet spots [are] running out sooner than anticipated.”

Sweet spots are the areas of shale basins that have the best-performing wells. David Hughes, earth scientist and author of the 2019 report, “How Long Will The Shale Revolution Last: Technology versus Geology and the Lifecycle of Shale Plays,” has estimated that these sweet spots (also known as “Tier 1 acreage”) make up 15 to 20 percent of a shale basin (also known as a “play”).

In a recent online presentation, Hughes noted that these productive areas, “of course, are exploited first.”

As shale companies have chased profits, they first drilled the sweet spots, but now that most of those have been depleted, drillers must try to make a profit with Tier 2 acreage, which isn’t going so well.

Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Resources, told investors in August that “Tier 1 acreage is being exhausted at a very quick rate.”

In Hughes’ 2019 report, he maps the sweet spots of the Bakken Shale using well performance, with the highest producers shown in red.

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