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Does the Cline Shale Contain 30 Billion BOE?

by Kenneth E. DuBose on December 11, 2012

The Cline Shale grabbed headlines after Devon announced impressive well results. Devon believes a typical well might produce 570,000 boe, with 85% of that being oil and NGLs. The company also pegged recoverable resource at 3.6 million boe per section (square mile). If the commercial extent of the play extends across 9,800 square miles, then you get to the 30 billion barrel number being reported. First of all, let’s say the obvious. There haven’t been enough wells drilled to know if this is a 30 billion barrel field, but even if the Cline only has 3 billion barrels of recoverable oil, it will rank as one of the largest discoveries in the U.S.

Devon has four rigs running in the area as of the fourth quarter of 2012. The most recent horizontal well completed in the play produced 450 boe/d over a 30 day period. The company has over 550,000 acres targeting the play in Fisher, Mitchell, Nolan, and Sterling counties. The first three wells were drilled in Sterling County, but the company will continue to step out from there in the coming months. The area is also prospective for the Mississippian and Wolfcamp formations.

How Does 30 Billion Boe Compare to the Bakken and Eagle Ford?

The USGS has estimated the Bakken Shale holds more than 4 billion boe of recoverable resource. Industry estimates peg that number at anywhere from 6-10 times higher (24-40 billion boe).

The most common Eagle Ford estimates are 7-10 billion boe, but industry estimates stretch as high as 20 billion bbls of liquids and 150 tcf of gas. That’s more like 40-50 billion boe, so you see there’s a pretty large margin for error in reserve estimates.

Cline Shale Map

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