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Oil and Gas Leasing in the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas

Texas oil and gas attorneys and mineral owners may see more leasing activity in 2010 in the Eagle Ford Shale, a field in southern Texas that oil and gas companies have known about for some time, but that is just now being explored. The field is named after the city of Eagle Ford, Texas, hometown of Bonnie Parker of “Bonnie and Clyde” notoriety. (The city of Eagle Ford was incorporated into the City of Dallas in 1956).

Several oil and gas operators, beginning with Petrohawk Energy Corporation, and including many of the larger companies (Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, XTO Energy Inc., Chesapeake Energy Corporation and several others), are quietly signing up leases and drilling exploratory wells. The “word on the street” is that the cost of drilling a gas well in the Eagle Ford Shale may be substantially less than in the Barnett Shale or the Haynesville Shale, although drilling in the heavy clay present in portions of the Eagle Ford shale presents its own challenges.

The Eagle Ford Shale underlies large portions of Texas, but it doesn’t always contain gas. Currently, leasing appears to be limited to Colorado, Dewitt and Karnes Counties. Other counties that may see leasing activity include Bee, Dimmit, Goliad, LaSalle, Lavaca, Live Oak, McMullen, and Webb Counties. An increase in the price of gas (which, given the large amount of current reserves, probably won’t happen for a while) would certainly accelerate activity in this play.

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