Which Shale Plays Produce the Most Oil and Gas?

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major-us-shale-plays

Perhaps the best known oil and gas shale regions in the United States are the Bakken region which is located primarily in North Dakota, and the Eagle Ford region which is located in South Texas. However, there are many other shale plays located in the lower 48 United States, and six of these plays (including the aforementioned Bakken and Eagle Ford plays) are currently producing approximately 90% of the country’s oil and gas. You can see where all six shale plays are located on the map above (from the Energy Information Administration). Let’s take a look at the six plays in brief:

  • Bakken – located in Montana and North Dakota. Ranked 3rd in oil production of the six plays; ranked 6th in natural gas production of the six plays*.
  • Eagle Ford – located in South Texas. Ranked 2nd in oil production of the six; ranked 2nd in gas production.
  • Haynesville – located in Arkansas, Louisiana, and East Texas. This is not a big oil producing shale play as it’s no. 5 of the six; but it’s the 3rd most productive shale play for natural gas.
  • Marcellus – located in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia. This large play is ranked last for oil production but is far and away the big leader for natural gas production of the six plays.
  • Niobrara – located in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas. 4th most productive shale play for oil; 5th most productive for natural gas.
  • Permian – located in West Texas and New Mexico. The Permian basin is the top ranked oil producing shale region of the six major plays; it is the 4th most productive natural gas shale play.

*Stats from EIA.gov based on April 2014 data

Take a look at how the six major plays compare against each other in the graphs below…