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What a 40-year-old well can tell us about the future of US shale

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05 March 2021

What a 40-year-old well can tell us about the future of US shale

Report summary

Forty years ago, on 6 March 1981, Mitchell Energy filed a permit for the C.W. Slay 1 well. This Texas permit was the start of a program which forever changed US upstream. While its design was nothing like monster horizontal shale wells of today, the Slay wildcat was the first modern commercial shale gas well. It would take decades to show its complete potential though. Parallels can be drawn from this single well to the wider shale sector. The operatorship of shale assets - just like the individual Slay well - will evolve to match the opportunities presented at different stages in project life cycles. The companies growing shale today won’t be the same ones maximizing future PDP value. The economic history of this well is still relevant today . While the well paid back its investment, its extended duration is just as important. The lengthy production history allowed the well to capture peak pricing long after peak production.

Table of contents

    • Who owns the well today?
    • Why does change in operatorship matter?
    • Harbinger for other basins
    • Production update: slow and steady wins the race
    • What are lessons from the original well’s economics?
    • A wider play evaluation
    • Horizontal performance clusters

Tables and charts

This report includes 6 images and tables including:

  • C.W. Slay 1
  • Early 1982 flow test documentation
  • Monthly production records – C.W. Slay 1
  • Barnett performance distribution visualization (Bubble sized for EUR)

What's included

This report contains:

  • Document

    What a 40-year-old well can tell us about the future of US shale

    PDF 2.16 MB