The Bureau of Economic Geology The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences
US Shale Reserves and Production

Bureau Shale Gas Study

The study, conducted by the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) at The University of Texas at Austin, and funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, integrates engineering, geology and economics in a numerical model that allows for scenario testing based on many input parameters. The overall study, to be completed soon, will investigate production from four major U.S. shale formations: Barnett, Fayetteville, Haynesville and Marcellus. The Barnett and Fayetteville portions of the study have been completed.

study workflow

In the base case of the Barnett, the study forecasts a cumulative 44 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of recoverable reserves, with annual production declining in a predictable curve from the current peak of 2 TCF per year to about 900 billion cubic feet (BCF) per year by 2030. A summary report on the Barnett portion of the study has been peer-reviewed and published in two parts in the Oil and Gas Journal (August and September, 2013; posted below as Parts 1 and 2)

Drawing on production data from all of the individual wells drilled in the Fayetteville Shale from 2005-2011, the BEG assessment estimates technically recoverable gas reserves for the region at 38 Tcf, of which 18.2 Tcf will be economically feasible to recover at natural gas prices near $4 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) through 2050. A summary report on the Fayetteville portion of the study has been peer-reviewed and published in in the Oil and Gas Journal (January, 2014; posted below).

Unified published summary reports of either the overall Bureau Shale Gas Study or of the individual studies of the four major US shale gas plays do not exist.  Rather, various aspects of the Bureau Shale Gas study are set out in separate manuscripts which have either already been published or are currently under peer review for future publication in academic journals. Work on portions of the study is ongoing, and data may be adjusted as manuscripts are finalized.


OIL & GAS JOURNAL Bureau Shale Gas Study - Part 1

OIL & GAS JOURNAL Bureau Shale Gas Study - Part 2

OIL & GAS JOURNAL Bureau Fayetteville Shale Gas Study

Published Manuscripts

Aspects of the Sloan Foundation study concerning the Barnett Shale have been set out in five separate manuscripts which are in various stages of peer review and publication. Those now in publication include:

1. Browning, J., Ikonnikova, S., Gülen, G., Tinker S., et al. 2013. Barnett Shale Production Outlook. SPE Econ & Mgmt 5 (3): 89-104. SPE-165585-PA.
Available for purchase here

2. Gülen G, Browning J, Ikonnikova S, Tinker S, Well economics across ten tiers in low and high Btu (British thermal unit) areas, Barnett Shale, Texas, Energy (2013),
Available for purchase here

3. Tad W. Patzek, Frank Male, and Michael Marder Gas production in the Barnett Shale obeys a simple scaling theory PNAS 2013 110 (49) 19731-19736; published ahead of print November 18, 2013, doi:10.1073/pnas.1313380110
access publication here

Information regarding the initial Barnett Shale Gas Assessment Study Press Release and FAQ, February 2013


BEG - Sloan Foundation Shale Gas Assessment Study Research Team

This research was conducted within the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG), Jackson School of Geosciences, the University of Texas at Austin. This study is part of a program funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation called ``Role of Shale Gas in the U.S. Energy Transition: Recoverable Resources, Production Rates, and Implications." The research team includes Scott W. Tinker (Principal Investigator), Svetlana A. Ikonnikova (Co-Principal Investigator), John Browning, William L. Fisher, Qilong Fu, Gürcan Gülen, Susan Horvath, Frank Male, Ken Medlock III, Tad Patzek, Eric Potter, Forrest Roberts, Likeleli Seitlheko and Katie Smye. We thank IHS and DrillingInfo for access to their databases. Potential Conflicts of Interest for team members follow.

    Potential Conflict of Interest Information


Questions? Contact Mark Blount

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