Tribpedia: Barnett Shale

Tribpedia

The Barnett Shale is a rich source of natural gas that spans 5,000 miles beneath at least 18 North Texas counties, stretching west from Dallas to Wichita Falls and south to Waco. Shale is a sedimentary rock made mostly of clay and very fine grains of quartz. The Barnett Shale is an impermeable and nonporous shale that did not ...

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Understanding the Shale Boom

The oil and gas industry almost singlehandedly lifted Texas from the country’s last recession. But such booms come with unsettling questions: How long will the bonanza last? And will an eventual drop in oil prices decimate local economies — as has happened throughout Texas’ history? This story is part of our Shale Life project. 

 

The Shale Life Project

Where there’s oil and natural gas, there’s money to be made and jobs to be found. But the challenges these dramatic booms present for communities across South and West Texas are immense. Use our 15-part multimedia series — the result of more than six months of reporting from the state's most active shale plays — to see how surging energy production is changing lives and fortunes across Texas. 

Railroad Commissioners Barry Smitherman (center), David Porter (left) and Christi Craddick (right) are shown at a Jan. 15, 2013, meeting in Austin.
Railroad Commissioners Barry Smitherman (center), David Porter (left) and Christi Craddick (right) are shown at a Jan. 15, 2013, meeting in Austin.

Christi Craddick: The TT Interview

The Railroad Commission's new chairman on the agency's dual role as an industry watchdog and champion, the push to ban fracking in Denton and the commission’s efforts on earthquakes and disposal wells.

 

 

Lynda Stokes, the mayor of Reno, Texas, testified before the Railroad Commission of Texas on Jan. 21, 2014. She voiced her concern about an increased number of earthquakes around Eagle Mountain Lake.
Lynda Stokes, the mayor of Reno, Texas, testified before the Railroad Commission of Texas on Jan. 21, 2014. She voiced her concern about an increased number of earthquakes around Eagle Mountain Lake.

Railroad Commission Hopefuls Discuss Disposal Well Plan

Two candidates for the Railroad Commission welcomed the agency's newly proposed requirements for disposal well applications, saying they were a good first step in addressing the spate of earthquakes that have shaken up parts of North Texas.

A gas well last fracked in March sits 385 feet from Debbie Ingram's home in Argyle, Texas on July 22, 2014.
A gas well last fracked in March sits 385 feet from Debbie Ingram's home in Argyle, Texas on July 22, 2014.

Denton Fracking Ban Could Spur Wider Legal Clash

A North Texas town's effort to ban hydraulic fracturing may prompt an unprecedented showdown between two powerful rights: a city's authority to shape development inside its borders, and mineral owners' right to tap their resources. The outcome could reshape Texas law at a time when drilling is causing tension in some urban areas.

Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis are shown on primary night on March 4, 2014.
Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis are shown on primary night on March 4, 2014.

Abbott, Davis Oil and Gas Records Show Contrast

Neither Greg Abbott nor Wendy Davis has spent much of their gubernatorial campaigns talking about the energy industry and regulations. But Texans should have little trouble distinguishing their positions on the issue. As a lawmaker, Davis has a detailed record, and Abbott has staked his position in the courts.

An oil & gas drilling rig is drilling a well for Pioneer Natural Resources in the Eagle Ford Shale formation near Yorktown.
An oil & gas drilling rig is drilling a well for Pioneer Natural Resources in the Eagle Ford Shale formation near Yorktown.

Visualization: Water for Fracking in Ten Texas Counties

In drought-stricken regions of Texas, some oil and gas companies could be at risk of depleting their own water supplies. Explore how much water was used for fracking in 10 Texas counties in 2012. In some counties, fracking water use in 2012 equaled at least half of the county's entire water usage in 2011. 

A natural gas compressor station located near La Grange, Texas, on Jan. 29, 2014.
A natural gas compressor station located near La Grange, Texas, on Jan. 29, 2014.

Anti-Regulation Politics May Have Hurt Energy Industry

Texas' anti-regulation stance may have hurt business when the state refused to issue required greenhouse permits for almost two years. Energy companies had to delay large industry facilities that needed the permits. As a result, they say, they have been unable to take full advantage of the area's shale boom.

Texas Railroad Commission lead engineering technician for districts 1 and 2, Michael Polasek, inspects a salt water disposal injection well at a Heckman Water Resources commercial disposal facility on the LAMZA lease near Highway 80, January 22, 2012.
Texas Railroad Commission lead engineering technician for districts 1 and 2, Michael Polasek, inspects a salt water disposal injection well at a Heckman Water Resources commercial disposal facility on the LAMZA lease near Highway 80, January 22, 2012.

After Surprise Quakes, North Texans Speak of Impact

After a contentious town hall meeting concerning the possible links between wastewater injection and a spate of North Texas earthquakes, locals say they cannot afford to wait for state regulators to address the issue.

Chesapeake Plaza in Fort Worth, Texas on December 17, 2013.
Chesapeake Plaza in Fort Worth, Texas on December 17, 2013.

North Texans Challenge Drillers Over Royalties

A growing number of North Texas mineral owners — including the cities of Arlington and Fort Worth  are suing oil and gas companies, alleging that they have been shortchanged millions of dollars in royalty payments that the companies deducted to cover postproduction costs. 

A well pad is flanked by Fort Worth's skyline on Sept. 27, 2013. As the Dallas City Council debated tightened regulations for natural gas drilling that it approved Wednesday, observers pointed to nearby Fort Worth's ordinance as a model to either embrace or avoid.
A well pad is flanked by Fort Worth's skyline on Sept. 27, 2013. As the Dallas City Council debated tightened regulations for natural gas drilling that it approved Wednesday, observers pointed to nearby Fort Worth's ordinance as a model to either embrace or avoid.

Dallas City Council Tightens Gas Drilling Ordinance

Dallas has significantly tightened its drilling rules, following years of debate about what natural gas production should look like inside its city limits — if it comes at all. On Wednesday, the city council established a 1,500-foot setback between “protected use” areas like homes, businesses and churches and new rigs and compressor stations, one that matches a requirement in the suburb of Flower Mound as the strictest in North Texas.

Spotlight on Davis, the Democrats' Big Hope

If Wendy Davis runs for Texas governor, her biography will face greater scrutiny. Voters are likely to find an exceptionally ambitious woman who has experienced both poverty and wealth, isn’t nearly as partisan as some think and was shaped as much by her single electoral defeat as the unbroken string of victories ever since.

A worker untangles a hose at a Fountain Quail water management and treatment facility in Roanoake, Texas. Fountain Quail cleans and separates water used in fracking for natural gas removal.
A worker untangles a hose at a Fountain Quail water management and treatment facility in Roanoake, Texas. Fountain Quail cleans and separates water used in fracking for natural gas removal.

Texas Could Require Disclosure of Drilling Chemicals

A recently introduced bill would make Texas one of just a few states to require natural gas companies to disclose, for a public website, what chemicals they use in the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing. Both the gas industry and environmentalists have praised the bill, which could, some say, give Texas the strongest disclosure requirements in the country.

An oil & gas drilling rig is drilling a well for Pioneer Natural Resources in the Eagle Ford Shale formation near Yorktown.
An oil & gas drilling rig is drilling a well for Pioneer Natural Resources in the Eagle Ford Shale formation near Yorktown.

Rich With Natural Gas, State Eyes More Oversight

New shale discoveries in south-central Texas are poised to boost output of natural gas. But the state's renewed commitment to the fuel comes at a time of sharply increased scrutiny for the gas industry. 

Where Perry and White Stand on Energy Issues

Whoever wins the governor's race in November will face a variety of pressing questions concerning one of the state's biggest industries: energy. Texas is a top producer of natural gas, oil and, more recently, wind power. As things stand now, the state is coping with a federal moratorium on new deepwater oil drilling, bracing for federal action on climate change and other air pollution, preparing for an influx of electric cars and debating whether to enact a mandate for renewable energy sources other than wind. How do Rick Perry and Bill White come down on the issues?

Porter, Weems Vie for Railroad Commission Seat

The two men battling for a spot on the Texas Railroad Commission go head-to-head — virtually — in the latest installment of our Face-Off video series. Watch as political novice and certified public accountant David Porter, a Midland Republican, debates Democrat Jeff Weems, an oil and gas attorney from Houston, on their respective qualifications for the job, whether there are enough pipeline inspectors and and the proper balance between environmental regulation and economic growth.