Information About Granite Shale Wash Play

The Granite Shale Wash Play is a 100-mile long, 30-mile wide area starting in the Texas panhandle and going down into Oklahoma. In production for decades, this area has ample extraction possibilities for both oil and gas. These energy reserves sit deep under the earth’s surface, at depths between 11,000 and 15,400 feet, according to the Texas RRC, which governs oil & gas production in Texas. Primarily composed of sandstone, the Granite Shale actually contains several producing formations. Most of the gas formations contain “tight gas” which is tricky to extract, but more recent advancements in horizontal drilling techniques commonly used on shale plays have proven useful.

The Granite Shale play sits within the greater Anadarko Basin, which includes other major plays including Cleveland, Mississippian limestones, and the Upper Devonian Woodford Shale. At one time, the Anadarko Basin was known for having the deepest well in the world. The Berth Rogers No. 1 well, constructed by Lone Star Producing Company, achieved drilling success at more than 6 miles beneath the surface, or a depth of 31,441 feet.

Companies Involved in Drilling

With the first discovery and drilling occurring at the Elk City field in the 1940s, the first major company in the area was Apache Corporation, which started drilling the area as far back as 1959. Production in the area steadily increased from 1970s and on, as other companies acquired acreage and they too started drilling. Today, other big companies with operations on the Granite Shale include Chesapeake Energy, Linn Energy, Devon Energy, and Forest Oil. These large operations own more than 60% of the wells in area, which makes sense given the deep pockets required to drill wells that cost as much as $8 million each.

Production Levels

Production along the Granite Wash proves challenging, as the Granite Wash proves to be an atypical play, with multiple pay zones that each require different extraction techniques. Of the 11 producing zones with the play, the Mills Ranch, Merex Resources, Lanthem, and Bowers fields are the most prolific oil producers, while the Stiles Ranch, Red Deer Creek, West Park, St. Clair, and Mendota fields are the biggest gas producers. Production of oil and gas from the Granite Wash drastically increased from 2003 to around 2011-2012, when oil and gas prices were at their peak. Graphs from the TX RRC show that Granite Wash oil production topped 3,000,000 barrels. In 2011, gas production peaked at 300,000,000 thousand cubic feet.

Since the peak in production, the count of active drilling rigs has steadily tapered off in the last 5 years. With the number dropping from around 90 drilling rigs in February of 2011 to less than 20 as recently as October of 2015. The downturn primarily relates to the depression of oil and gas commodities on a global scale, which has forced the hand of many U.S. producers to cease production. It is likely that the area will once again see growth when oil and gas prices return to their previous highs.