Much of this activity was below the industry’s always inquisitive ‘radar.’ A 5,700-word article in the May1998 issue of Oil & Gas Journal illustrated how the Barnett Shale Play was beginning to draw queries from the industry and trade press. But there was no rush to judgment.
Steward and his team were thankful. Bowker’s 3D seismic analyses produced estimates of recoverable natural gas that were three times the company’s original estimates. Sensing the potential, they needed to keep a ‘lid’ not only on their new-found formula but where they could apply it and make the company money, lots of money. And that meant buying up drilling permits on their land leases before competitors and landowners caught the scent and speculation priced that work out of reach.
During fundraiser for the Oil Information Library in Fort Worth in 2000 packaged as a seminar on the Barnett shale formation, speculation began to ramp up that something promising was afoot there. The conference room was packed. Word spread that Mitchell Energy has started to make money in the Barnett Shale.