About Me

As the third generation of the McDaniel family in the oil and gas business, I got my start at a young age. As a kid, I used to tag along with my dad as he drove countless miles in his rusty old Ford pickup checking out oil opportunities in West Texas. After completing undergraduate and graduate studies in Energy Management, I started my career as a professional landman for one of the major oil companies out of Houston. A few years ago, I left Houston to get back to my West Texas roots, and now work as an independent contractor representing various mineral rights buyers.

My primary territory covers all of Texas and Oklahoma, though I have represented companies as far as Montana and even a handful of jobs up into Canada. Texas has always been my home, and I’m proud to be a part of the oil and gas industry that so greatly benefits the economy of the Lone Star State. This site aims to help bridge the gap between mineral buyer and seller by providing educational resources about the industry.

Eagle Ford Shale Formation

Location of Eagle Ford

Lying underground along most of South Texas is a sedimentary geological rock formation containing oil and natural gas, known as the Eagle Ford Shale. It is currently the most active shale producing area on Earth. Made up of rich fossil ferrous marine shale, the area, running several hundred miles from the US/Mexico border north of Laredo to just north of Houston was one of the most heavily drilled sites for oil and gas in the country in 2010.

The shale is a very fine-grained, highly compacted sediment mixed with the fossilized remains of composted plants and animals. After exposure to pressure and heat in the Earth’s crust, this sediment and organic matter transforms into oil and gas deposits. Though most of the shale itself lies close to the Earth’s surface in northern Texas, the geological formation slopes, sending the oil deposits, and therefore the drilling activity, to south Texas.

Drilling in Eagle Ford

Article #3_pic of drilling at Eagle Ford
The formation was named after the now-defunct community of Eagle Ford, where the outcrops that formed it were first seen by locals. Petrohawk drilled the first well to successfully extract oil and gas from Eagle Ford Shale in 2008 in LaSalle County, Texas. Other oil companies soon joined in the drilling, growing the productive area from Webb and Maverick counties in Texas all the way to the Mexican border. Currently, Apache Corporation, EOG Resources, Swift Energy, Petrohawk and Exxon are among Eagle Ford Shale’s largest leaseholders. The area itself is approximately 50 miles wide, 400 miles long and is about 250 feet thick at a depth between 4,000 and 12,000 feet.

In order to recover and extract the oil and gas that is within Eagle Ford Shale, companies utilize hydraulic fracturing alongside horizontal drilling. In contrast to the highly controversial practice of fracking, many of the leaseholders who are actively involved in drilling operations also use no-emission and/or low-emission controllers during the recovery and extraction process.

Economic Impact

During the first six months of 2013, Eagle Ford Shale produced 2.69 billion cubic feet of gas and 599,000 barrels of oil and condensate daily. A study performed by UTSA (the University of Texas at San Antonio), concluded that Eagle Ford Shale had an $87 billion impact on the Texas economy in 2013. At that time, industry experts estimated that by 2023, Eagle Ford Shale would generate $137 billion in revenue and employ more than 196,000 workers. However, oil production in Texas severely plummeted in 2015 as OPEC the market with superfluous oil supply. At Eagle Ford, extraction halted in more than 50% of the producing rigs, crippling the projected economic growth. While much oil still remains for extraction, it is unclear if and when this area will recover.

 

Overview of Major Shale Areas in Texas

Shale rock promises to be a rich source of oil and gas for the world’s growing economies. The extraction of oil and gas from this material requires special techniques that use complex equipment and deep knowledge of these extraordinary rock formations. A number of areas in the state of Texas hold shale rock, and these are expected to yield significant amounts of oil and gas in the future:

Eagle Ford Formation
The Eagle Ford Formation covers a significant area in south Texas. It contains material with a higher carbon percentage in a more brittle environment that makes it easier to extract. The formation is about 50 miles wide and 400 miles long, running from the border with Mexico to East Texas, and yielding both oil and gas within its borders. In 2013, there were 2,521 oil leases issued for the area and 2,418 producing gas wells.

Barnett Formation
The Barnett formation is located in central Texas, much of it under the city of Fort Worth. It is an area of “tight” shale formation, which makes it more difficult to extract. Its location relative to urban areas adds even more complexity to the problems of extraction of its abundant gas reserves. However, horizontal drilling is offering new opportunities for extraction in this area of the state. The Barnett formation is believed to hold some of the largest producible reserves of natural gas of any onshore field in the country.

Permian Basin Formations

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In West Texas, the Permian Basin has provided oil since 1925. Today, new extraction technologies are making this one of the most productive regions in the state. Six different formations are located within the Permian Basin, including the Wolfcamp, Spraberry, Glorieta, Bone Springs and Delaware deposits. Three of these, Spraberry, Bone Springs and Wolfcamp are responsible for three-quarters of the increase in oil production in this area. The Cline formation is another area of the Permian Basin are that is attracting attention in recent years as more exploration and drilling has commenced here. The Permian Basin covers an area 250 miles wide and 300 miles long and is expected to continue to yield significant amounts of oil and gas from shale in future years.

Haynesville-Bossier Formation
East Texas is the site of another rich formation of shale gas. The Haynesville-Bossier Formation is a mudstone deposit that contains limestone, shale and sandstone, along with marine and coastal plain organic materials that make it conducive for the creation of natural gas. The area covers 9,000 square miles of area, parts of which are in Louisiana. It wasn’t until 2008 that new advances in extraction technology allowed the natural gas in this area to be recovered in an economically feasible manner. Today, it is considered one of the most promising areas in the country for natural gas extraction.
Future of Shale
The energy opportunities in Texas drive a huge sector of the economy, benefitting both major drilling companies and for private citizens who own mineral rights under their land. Many Texas residents that live within the bounds of these shale formations have made healthy sums monetizing their mineral rights by either leasing their rights to oil & gas companies in return for royalty payments, or selling their mineral rights for a lump sum payment. Caddo Minerals, centrally located in Austin, is one of the major mineral rights buyers in the state, offering top dollar to those looking to sell.

 

With the abundance of promising oil and gas reserves in the state, Texas is poised to lead the way toward tomorrow’s energy production. The state’s natural resources will continue to provide jobs and economic development for its residents.

 

What Is Shale?

Shale rock has come to the attention of oil producers looking for new sources of oil and gas to fuel the needs of global economies. It is a special type of rock formation that requires highly technical methods of extraction. Energy companies have developed these innovative methods of extraction to take advantage of this unique resource that is found in many countries around the world.

What Is Shale Made Of?
Essentially, shale rock is sedimentary rock that is very finely grained. It contains, clay, silt and small particles of calcite, quartz and other minerals. Shale is part of a category called “mudstone,” because it is formed by layers of mud and silt that are deposited in the ground. It is unique in that it can break apart into parallel layers more easily than other types of rock. Oil and gas is contained within these layers, which must be broken apart using special techniques that allow this rich resource to be harvested.

How Is Shale Formed?

Shale forms when the environment carries silt, containing a variety of minerals from eroded rocks, and deposits it in layers in a particular region over time. The layers may contain clay, feldspar, mica, quartz and variety of different types of organic matter. These layers become compressed together at high pressure over thousands of years, in a process called “lithification,” which turns it into rock. This material also contains kerogen, which is believed to be the substance that causes oil and gas to form from the compressed organic matter in the silt.

How Are Oil and Gas Extracted from Shale?
A number of different methods can be used to extract oil and gas from the layers of rock in a shale formation. Pyrolysis, hydrogenation or thermal dissolution are common extraction methods. The process used is determined by the type of environmental conditions that exist in a shale deposit, and also, by cost considerations that are involved in the extraction. In some cases, the shale may be removed from the ground and processed in a facility, using a method called “retorting.” However, in other cases, processing occurs in-situ, that is, at the site where it is found.

Article #1_Shale Oil Extraction

More recently, you may have heard of the term “fracking” which is a newer and more controversial method of shale oil extraction. In fracking, a hire pressure mixture of water and sand is directed at the shale, which forces the gas towards the well. The public backlash at fracking stems from concerns about its environmental impact, including excessive water usage, the potential for ground water contamination, and the belief that the practice causes small earth tremors.

Advantages of Shale Oil and Gas
Extracting oil and gas from shale rock offers the world an abundant source of energy for the world’s growing economies and populations. It will increase the number of high-paying jobs in these regions of the world and will provide greater energy independence, as well as increased security for these nations who will no longer have to depend on unstable areas of the world for their energy resources. Shale offers a rich supply of oil and gas for the world’s future energy needs. With modern technology, this resource can help advance economies around the globe.