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February 22, 2010

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I agree with you that Berman, et al are on their way towards the fringe and that it is unfortunate – he does provide good insight at times.

In the article, he marginalizes the technology and operational improvements over time. While I do agree with him that geology and petrophysics should play are larger role in shale plays, he just misses the point that the resource is fundamentally different in that it still depends primarily on the ability of the operator to control costs and build on prior learnings.

I do like two of his points: 1) That this really isn't a departure from XOM's strategy - they were already heavily weighted towards unconventional resources. 2) Due to the new SEC reserves definitions, shale acreage and operators make very good targets for reserves hungry majors.

Excellent points, Driller. I had the chance to speak to some senior officers of of XTO yesterday (including the President) and they were pretty enthusiastic about XOM's stance. XOM apparently really is valuing their operational expertise as a critical component of the acquisition towards unlocking their unconventional global holdings, as well as add 2 BCFG per day to the current 1 BCFG per day they produce in the US.

It sounds like their comments reflect what I believe to one of the more profound (although obvious) things from Berman's thoughts.

On one of his slides (on his blog), he has a point that says shale wells are actually "artificial reservoirs - created by brute engineering force". I think that once you look at things this way compared to a conventional reservior (whatever that is anymore), the success or lack thereof by various operators/wells begins to make a lot of sense.
A great phrase that I will have remember for future use.

I hope XOM does value XTO's experience. That would mean they would keep most of the XTO personnel around.

Driller...if you were standing outside of the door of XTO's office on the 181st day following the "merger", you would get trampled by very talented people carrying boxes.

So based on your last slide in this series, what is the Breakeven price for the avg Haynesville well?

Dude...quit using Babel-fish to translate your thoughts into English.

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