The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Barnett's Monster Well

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted November 18, 2010

It's being called a monster. It's the biggest natural gas well in North Texas' Barnett Shale formation, and in September it produced more than 17.8 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

The well, dubbed White South #1H, is located in south Arlington, Texas, and is operated by Chesapeake Energy, which is the second largest producer in the Barnett formation. The well's 30-day production average surpasses the next most prolific well by 37 percent and provided enough natural gas to supply 8,159 homes for an entire year. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

The well is named for the owner of the land where the well is located. It is one of eight wells that are producing natural gas from the same well pad. Asked why White South #1H is setting production records, Chesapeake District Manager Sean Woolverton says it is "a combination of what Mother Nature has given us here, probably some better reservoir quality, some better shale quality...and we might have optimized the well-completion design."

The monster well was drilled to a depth of 8,244 feet and horizontally for another 3,938 feet. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," was used to create small fissures in the shale, allowing the natural gas to flow into the wellbore. White South #1H is one of some 14,000 producing wells in the Barnett Shale that are producing natural gas for U.S. consumers. According to the Powell Barnett Shale Newsletter, the 20-county area produced more than 5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day during the first eight months of 2010.

Drilling in energy-rich areas such as the Barnett Shale is smart energy policy. Not only does it produce oil and natural gas for American consumers, but also it generates royalty payments to property owners, tax revenues to the government, and creates much-needed jobs. In September, the Texas unemployment rate was 8.1 percent, which is significantly lower than the national unemployment rate of 9.6 percent.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.