The Energy Report: On July 26, George Phydias Mitchell died at the age of 94. The late Texas oilman had pioneered the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Can you speak about his achievements?
Jim Letourneau: Mitchell was the founder of the entire shale oil/shale gas revolution. For decades, the Texas wildcatters had known that there was gas in the Barnett Shale, but it was very difficult to get it out. Mitchell did not invent the fracking technologies. He just wanted to get the gas out of the shale. And as the owner of an oil company, he got to challenge the technical people. He basically said, "If you guys can't figure it out, I'll find someone who can." He had the power and the money and the persistence to make it work. Mitchell Energy Development Corp. began working on the problem in 1981, and it took until 1999 to figure it all out. The company sold for $3.5 billion ($3.5B) in 2001! It is inspiring.
TER: Were other companies trying to develop fracking? Continue reading "Enhanced Oil Recovery with Competitive Costs"
The Energy Report: How is the news that Argentina holds the fourth-largest shale oil reserve in the world affecting business plans for companies that operate there?
Bill Newman: The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report that was released in June 2013 showed that Argentina has a technically recoverable shale oil resource of 27 billion barrels, so it reaffirms the large potential of Argentina. Although the shales plays are in an early stage of appraisal, we don't believe the potential of the shale is the key issue for oil and gas companies investing in Argentina. The political risk is still the chief concern. However, this year the government started to move away from its nationalist policies, so we think the political climate is slowly improving.
TER: When we talked last year, Argentina had recently expropriated the assets of Yacimientos Petrolferos Fiscales (YPF:NYSE) (YPF) from Spain's Repsol (REP:MC) without compensation. And the government temporarily froze the Argentinean assets of Chevron Corp. (CVX:NYSE) in response to a $19 billion ($19B) judgment in Ecuador. Has the danger of nationalization of foreign owned oil and gas assets receded or increased? Continue reading "As Argentina Backpedals, Will Oil and Gas Companies Step on the Gas?"