Your know that awkward moment when someone is sharing news with you that you think is good, but could be bad?
I’m pregnant… I’m getting married… I have a new job…
You want to say: Wonderful! Congratulations! Good for you!
But you’re not sure if they’re happy or sad about the situation… Awkward pause…
Even more uncomfortable are the times when someone is sharing news you’re certain is bad but they don’t think so.
My Mom’s quit speaking to me… I’m getting a divorce… My cat died...
You’re condolences are interrupted by: No! It’s a good thing!
As hard as I try to pick up on non-verbal cues, sometimes I just can’t predict the tenor of another person’s news.
Our well hole caved in a while back. I knew that was bad news.
A few days ago, Steve, our geo-scientist, stopped by to tell me we had a gas show.
Now this was one of those awkward moments for me.
Fires in Texas have been in the news a lot recently, plus a blogger friend had written about a gas fire at their site.
So I stood there, trying to give my best I’m interested, tell me more expression in hopes of learning if I should be happy or alarmed by the announcement.
Steve, not knowing the vast extent of my lack of knowledge, patiently waited for my response.
Finally I gave up and said: Is that a good thing?
As my fellow gate guards know, it was.
Who knew the oil industry was so full of the drama of shows and plays?
After literally hours of research, I’ve given up paraphrasing and condensing and have decided to take some of the most common terms and just put them in my own words. If you want precision, you might want to do some research on your own.
Here’s what I came up with:
A gas show means we found some!
A play in our industry is an area where things look pretty promising for oil/gas production.
A Professional “land man” is someone sent out by oil and gas companies to go to courthouses etc… do the research and then find the landowners who own the mineral rights to the playing field. I made playing field up. It’s not in the industry glossary, but I think it works.
A lease deal is then offered to the landowner. The price varies depending on lots of things: the anticipated out-put, the market projections, the scruples of the “land man” and his company, the competition from other companies etc…
A shale play is when they discover oil or gas in shale rock that is significant enough for oil and gas companies to start a campaign of leasing and exploring.
The size of an oil or gas play may be only a few hundred acres or as is the case with the Eagle Ford shale, Haynesville shale, Barnett shale and Marcellus shale, cover hundreds of thousands of acres over a wide region.
If there’s name dropping going on in Texas these days, it’s Eagle Ford Shale.
Steve brought me a piece.
Eagle Ford shale is turning out to be both a gas play and an oil play.
The Eagle Ford shale covers a swath about 50 miles wide and 400 miles long that begins in counties northeast of San Antonio and stretches to the Maverick and Webb counties on the border with Mexico.
Eagle Ford shale is also the reason many Gate Guards have job security for years to come.
Last month, Michael Fitzsimmons wrote an excellent article for Seeking Alpha.
If you want to read more, you can click on this link to his piece Major Players in the Eagle Ford Shale. Being so new to the industry I found it to be really interesting. Fitzsimmons does a great job of putting this aspect of the oil industry in layman’s term, and on the map, literally.
I’m including the map here, as I found it all over the web. If you go to the link for the Major Players article, you can zoom in and get a feel for where the drilling is taking place and whether it’s oil, gas or both.
We spent our first 3 1/2 weeks in McMullen county at a salt water disposal well just outside of Tilden. We’ve been in Gonzales county with this oil company since January 23rd. Looks like we may be in Gonzales county for quite a while. They’re punching 2 holes at our next site, 5 miles to the north.
“Nothing touches the ROI of Eagle Ford, not the Bakken, Barnett, Woodford, Haynesville, Marcellus, or any other shale. Saudi Arabia might give Eagle Ford a run for the money but nothing else. Eagle Ford is huge beyond description.” writes Mike Green in his Landowner Advocacy blog. For more info check out Mike’s blog.
That’s it for Shale 101. Still not clear? I recommend reading the experts. I gave it a shot but…
The simplest explanation is that it doesn’t make sense. ~ William Buechner