This post is one of my series of tech talks, describing some of the ways in which fossil fuels are produced. In the current part of the series we are focusing a little more on the procedures that are being used to recover natural gas from formations such as the Barnett, Fayetteville, Marcellus, Haynesville and Woodford shales. In this particular post I am going to concentrate more on the benefits of horizontal drilling through these shale reservoirs, rather than using the more conventional vertical wells that were used historically. This, and the next three posts in the series are likely to be a bit more technically dense than earlier posts, but I am trying to illustrate some of the problems of production, and some of the gains that technology is bringing to help solve some of them. And while the reason for the horizontal wells can be simplified in this graph from Chris McGill, there are a lot of other things that have to be considered in deciding whether or not the horizontal well is going to be worth developing.
Comparative production from a vertical and horizontal natural gas well (Chris McGill).