Most Economic Basins at Today’s Oil/Gas Prices

bakken-shale-gas-well_300x194Oil and Gas 360

In October, OAG360 examined the internal rate of return (IRR) in two of America’s key shale basins – the Eagle Ford (EF) and Bakken. EnerCom’s analysis showed the Eagle Ford is more economic than its rival basin by a handful of percentage points, no matter the price.

Oil prices for West Texas Intermediate crude have hovered around the $75 per barrel mark for the past week, but both basins will still provide upside if the price slips to $70 by the end of the year. In a $70 per barrel environment, the EF and Bakken provide IRRs of 12.9% and 9.0%, respectively.

A report by KLR Group, released on November 19, 2014, supports the assessment of the Eagle Ford’s E&P-friendly economics. The report says the breakeven price for Eagle Ford wells is $60 – below breakevens of the Permian, Niobrara and Bakken, which can range from $68 to $74. KLR cites the EF’s lower capital intensity ($30/BOE) and “relatively high oil price netback ($2.50 below NYMEX) drive this advantaged outcome.”

Marcellus Leads the Gas Plays

Gas markets have already withstood the price cut rollercoaster that is currently plaguing oil, but the economics are still viable in the majority of large basins. Wet gas is the most economic, with breakevens of the wet Marcellus and wet Utica at $2.50 and $3.10 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) respectively. Dry Marcellus gas is next in line at a $3.50 per Mcf breakeven. The Haynesville, Fayetteville and Barnett are more capital intensive, requiring prices ranging from $3.75 to $4.25 per Mcf. The latter three plays all have a higher price netback than the Appalachia region, which further proves the strength of the Marcellus/Utica plays.

NYMEX December natural gas traded at $4.40 per Mcf today.

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