How Long will the Fayetteville Fracking Play Last?

by Emil Morhardt

How long will shale gas be available until it plays out? The Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) at the University of Texas at Austin is making a concerted effort to find out for the four largest shale plays currently in development in the US. The first they reported on was the Barnett Shale in Texas. The topic of this post is their second study, conducted on the Fayetteville (Arkansas) Shale by John Browning and eleven colleagues at the BEG. The overall answer is a long time—but well short of a century—with production peaking soon and falling to between half and a third of the current levels by 2030 and continuing to decline thereafter; they ran their model through 2050 and estimate the technically recoverable gas resources if economics were not an issue (38 trillion cubic feet), and the amount likely to be recovered eventually given economic reality, about half that. Continue reading