The Barnett shale in north-central Texas lies in the Fort Worth Basin. Discovered in the 1950s, the Barnett was not commercially viable until the 1980s. Some geologists believe the formation could hold 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. A significant part of the drilling has occurred in the Fort Worth metro area, and Chesapeake Energy actually secured rights to drill beneath the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
Drilling in the Barnett shale intensified in the past decade as modern horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques were perfected for drilling in shale. Devon Energy, Chesapeake Energy, XTO Energy, and EOG Resources are among the larger players in the Barnett shale. Two years ago, 70% of all US gas shale production came from the Barnett, but that percentage of the total has been declining as production has risen in other plays.
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