As an ageing, dry, but nowhere near dead, natural gas titan in Northwest Louisiana and Eastern Texas, the Haynesville is America’s third largest shale play, now yielding around 6.3 Bcf/d and potentially holding nearly 500 trillion cubic feet of gas. With only a few oil-directed rigs, the Haynesville accounts for less than 1% of U.S. shale oil production, but 13% of shale gas production.
In recent years, the Haynesville was nudged out of the market a bit in favour of the lower cost supply in the Marcellus, Utica, and associated gas from oil production, the latter accounting for 20-25% of total U.S. gas output. But pipeline bottlenecks in the critical Northeast that keep prices lower and shut-in production are breathing new life into the Haynesville. Rig counts in the play are up 21 to 37 since mid-November, and “re-fracturing immediately increases gas rates 700% and sustains a 400% increase for three months in the Haynesville”.
The Haynesville has some advantages over other U.S. gas plays. Located near several major pipelines, there is no transportation bottleneck like there is in the Marcellus/Utica region. Public opinion wise, producers in both Texas and Louisiana have an underrated edge because oil/gas production is ingrained in the culture, as opposed to Ohio and Pennsylvania, where major development is relatively new.
Export hubs to Mexico and soon to be mushrooming LNG plants are all geographically close to the Haynesville. “These advantages keep differentials low, with combined gathering, processing and transport expected to amount to $0.37/Mcf in 2017″, Comstock President and CEO Jay Allison said recently.
Supporting local gas development, at least six U.S. LNG export facilities will be up and running by 2022, most within easy reach of the Haynesville: Cheniere’s Sabine Pass trains 1-5 in Louisiana, Cameron trains 1-3 in Louisiana, Freeport trains 1-3 in Texas, Kinder Morgan’s Elba Island trains 1-10 in Georgia, and Cheniere’s Corpus Christi trains 1-2 in Texas. LNG exports from the Gulf could surge 5-fold over the next five years.
“[The Haynesville] was largely written off by industry two to three years ago, but it has reemerged stronger than ever,” Doug Lawler, CEO, Chesapeake said.