The Eagle Ford Shale saw much activity in 2009, as this new shale play gained increased attention from operators eager to find it a place among the various North American shale plays. Operators also reported high liquids gas wells there, boosting the economics of the play.
IN PICTURES: Biggest Stock Scams

Among the independent exploration and production companies, Petrohawk Energy (NYSE:HK) had the most activity in the Eagle Ford shale in 2009. The company drilled its second test well in early 2009, and was using a one-rig program there. The Dora Martin No.1H well reported an initial production rate of 8.3 million cubic feet equivalent of natural gas. By the end of 2009, Petrohawk Energy had 314,000 net acres under leases in two separate fields, and has set up a joint venture with Swift Energy (NYSE:SFY) to develop a small part of that company's acreage.

The company proudly declared that the Eagle Ford Shale "is one of the highest quality shale reservoirs discovered to date in the United States."

Among the major oil companies, Conoco Phillips (NYSE:COP) disclosed a 300,000-acre position in the Eagle Ford shale at its analyst meeting in March 2009. The company likes the play due to the high amount of liquids in the wells there.

Some companies used 2009 to get set up for next year. Murphy Oil (NYSE:MUR) also has acreage in the Eagle Ford Shale, but has not disclosed much beyond that it is engaged in a three well drilling program to test its acreage. The company will drill vertical wells at first and then move forward with a horizontal program next year if the tests are successful. (Before jumping into this hot sector, learn how these companies make their money in the Oil And Gas Industry Primer.)

This is an interesting move for Murphy Oil because the company is not generally known for onshore development. Also, several years ago it started accumulating acreage in the Floyd Shale in Alabama and Mississippi but did not go beyond testing that acreage.

Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD) has 310,000 gross acres in the Eagle Ford Shale. The company started a five-well test program in August 2009, and just reported its first completion. The Sinor No.5 came in at an initial production rate of 11.3 million cubic feet equivalent, including 500 barrels of condensate per day.

The Bottom Line
The exploration and production industry gushed about the Eagle Ford Shale in 2009, and spent the year building acreage positions and testing those properties in preparation for more extensive horizontal drilling programs in 2010. (Unit investment trusts provide direct exposure to the energy sector, fueling better returns see Investing In Oil And Gas UITs.)

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    3 Resilient Oil Stocks for a Down Market

    Stuck on oil? Take a look at these six stocks—three that present risk vs. three that offer some resiliency.
  2. Economics

    Keep an Eye on These Emerging Economies

    Emerging markets have been hammered lately, but these three countries (and their large and young populations) are worth monitoring.
  3. Stock Analysis

    Is Pepsi (PEP) Still a Safe Bet?

    PepsiCo has long been known as one of the most resilient stocks throughout the broader market. Is this still the case today?
  4. Investing Basics

    Learn How To Trade Gold In 4 Steps

    Trading spot gold or gold futures, equities and options isn’t hard to learn, but the activity requires skill sets unique to these markets.
  5. Economics

    The Effect of Fed Fund Rate Hikes on Gold

    Explore the historical relationship between interest rate increases and the price of gold, and consider what effect a fed funds rate hike might have on gold.
  6. Investing

    The ABCs of Bond ETF Distributions

    How do bond exchange traded fund (ETF) distributions work? It’s a question I get a lot. First, let’s explain what we mean by distributions.
  7. Investing Basics

    3 Alternative Investments the Ultra-Rich Usually Own

    Learn about the ultra rich and what normally comprises their net worth; understand the top three alternative investments usually owned by the ultra rich.
  8. Stock Analysis

    3 Stocks that Are Top Bets for Retirement

    These three stocks are resilient, fundamentally sound and also pay generous dividends.
  9. Investing News

    Are Stocks Cheap Now? Nope. And Here's Why

    Are stocks cheap right now? Be wary of those who are telling you what you want to hear. Here's why.
  10. Investing News

    4 Value Stocks Worth Your Immediate Attention

    Here are four stocks that offer good value and will likely outperform the majority of stocks throughout the broader market over the next several years.
  1. How do dividends affect retained earnings?

    When a company issues a cash dividend to its shareholders, the retained earnings listed on the balance sheet are reduced ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Where do penny stocks trade?

    Generally, penny stocks are traded through the use of the Over the Counter Bulletin Board (OTCBB) and through pink sheets. ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Where can I buy penny stocks?

    Some penny stocks, those using the definition of trading for less than $5 per share, are traded on regular exchanges such ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How are American Depository Receipts (ADRs) priced?

    The price of an American depositary receipt (ADR) is determined by the bank or other financial institution that issues it. ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!