Cheap energy forever: Permian’s mammoth cubes herald supersized shale future

Posted: February 25, 2018 by oldbrew in Energy, fracking, innovation, Shale gas, shale oil

Permian shale, Texas [image credit:]

The rise and rise of US shale continues to defy the arguments of its critics, shaking up the world with new ideas and greater efficiency.
H/T Bloomberg

‘Cube development,’ which taps multiple layers of shale all at once, could accelerate the U.S. shale boom and make the world swim in cheap and abundant energy for much of the next 250 years, as The GWPF reports.

In the scrublands of West Texas there’s an oil-drilling operation like few that have come before.

Encana Corp.’s RAB Davidson well pad is so mammoth, the explorer speaks of it in military terms, describing its efforts here as an occupation.

More than 1 million pounds of drilling rigs, bulldozers, tanker trucks and other equipment spread out over a dusty 16-acre expanse. As of November, the 19 wells here collectively pumped almost 20,000 barrels of crude per day, according to company reports.

Encana calls this “cube development,” and it may be the supersized future of U.S. fracking, says Gabriel Daoud, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst who visited Davidson last year. The technique is designed to tap the multiple layers of petroleum-soaked rock here in Texas’s Permian shale basin all at once, rather than the one-or-two-well, one-layer-at-a-time approach of the past.

After a years-long land grab by explorers, “the Permian is graduating,” according to Daoud. “Now it’s all about entering manufacturing mode.”

With the new technique, Encana and other companies are pushing beyond the drilling patterns that dominated during the early, exploratory phases of the shale revolution. Now, operators are assembling projects with a dozen or more well bores that touch multiple underground layers of the Permian and other shale plays simultaneously, tapping the entire 3-D “cube” beneath a producer’s acreage.

The shift has been controversial, with some of the biggest names in oil shying away from the approach as too aggressive and expensive. But if proponents are right, the cube could accelerate a drilling boom that’s already helped push U.S. production past an historic 10 million barrels a day, rewriting the rules of global energy markets along the way.

Continued here.

  1. Bitter@twisted says:

    And we could do the same here if the Government had any balls.

  2. Colin says:

    I’ll believe all this when Permian shale turns a profit. Meanwhile it has great “potential”,just like Tesla.

  3. Bitter@twisted says:

    Colin, unlike Tesla, which has never turned a profit and remains in business solely due to Enron Musk’s subsidy-blagging ability, shale gas has already made fortunes and is transforming the world’s energy landscape.

  4. Richard111 says:

    Tell me again please. “Oil is a fossil fuel!”

  5. stpaulchuck says:

    “But… but… but PEAK OIL!!!”
    ROFLMAO, ha ha ha ha

    we’ve known for decades or longer about the huge shale deposits. It just took until now to get the technology mature enough to go for it in economical quantities. Good for us.

  6. stpaulchuck says:

    A thought experiment:

    consider the amount of gas and oil coming up from that 16 acres. Now what size electrical generation plant could that power on-site and how much turf would it cover?

    Now how much turf would it take to install a wind farm considering average production at 38% of rated?

    And how much turf to build a solar farm of equal output considering at best 50% of rated output (we call it sundown).

  7. E.M.Smith says:


    50% is way too high. At sunrise and sunset you get little production. Figure on about 6 hours / day at max. 8 with some decent capacity. Even that is only with 2 axis trackers. Not thr flat panels on roofs stuff.

  8. eric says:

    Richard111, et. al.,

    Re. “fossil fuel”. Please show me the error(s) in this: