About the Fayetteville Shale
An introduction to the Fayetteville Shale including its location and geographic extent, economic importance, and physical characteristics.
The Fayetteville Shale is an unconventional natural gas reservoir located on the Arkansas side of the Arkoma Basin, ranging in thickness from 50 to 550 feet and ranging in depth from 1,500 to 6,500 feet. The shale is a Mississippian-age shale that is the geologic equivalent of the Caney Shale found on the Oklahoma side of the Arkoma Basin and the Barnett Shale found in north Texas.
The Fayetteville Shale is important to Arkansas because it holds large quantities of natural gas. Unlike more traditional oil and gas fields that contain hydrocarbons in porous rock formations, shale holds natural gas in a fine-grained rock matrix. Until recent years, most shale formations were not considered profitable areas for gas production. With new technology and elevated natural gas prices, companies have made the Barnett Shale play in north Texas one of the hottest production fields in the country. Encouraged by the success in the Barnett Shale formation, operators looked at other large shale formations, including the Fayetteville Shale.
At the end of 2007, there were approximately two million acres under lease to production companies in the play. It is anticipated that thousands of wells will be drilled during the next several years. This activity will include construction and installation of roads and pipelines, as well as drilling fluid disposal pits and infrastructure to handle hundreds of millions of gallons of fracturing fluids.
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