Ten years now after his death at age 94, George Mitchell, famously dubbed the Father of the Shale Oil and Gas Revolution, would no doubt stand in awe of what’s been achieved from his remarkable idea in 1981. Horizontal drilling and fracking at the time were far from new techniques in the oilfield. But by combining the two, Mitchell was able to unlock vast amounts of natural gas from tight rock. And it forever changed the industry. Far from an overnight success, he spent 17 years to perfect that pairing. The rest, as they say, is history and one that could soon repeat.
Reese Energy Consulting today is following the latest from two E&Ps looking to the next era of tech genius to unlock even more hydrocarbons. ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods in June told an energy conference crowd he had issued an internal challenge to develop shale technologies that would double its Permian production to 1 MMBD by 2027. Woods suggested these could come from fracking along longer lateral well segments with new techniques that better keep the fracks open to release more oil and gas.
George Mitchell would go on to sell his Mitchell Energy in 2001 to Devon Energy, effectively launching the shale boom which spread like wildfire from Texas to the Marcellus, Bakken and beyond. Devon COO Clay Gaspar last month pointed to the next wave of tech discoveries and the next perfect pairing of techniques that will make the Permian Basin the next Permian Basin. With estimated reserves of 100 billion to 250 billion BOE, Gaspar said, it all comes down to getting unmovable hydrocarbons to move. Getting there may be closer than we imagine.