How long can the newest “rock stars” sustain the overall unconventional rig count? The Eagle Ford has shown remarkable growth, up 143% since 2Q 2010 and accounting for 75% of the increase in the unconventional tally since then, according to last week’s issue of The Unconventional Drilling Report. And the Bakken count is up 140% since the first of the year. There is certainly more room for the Eagle Ford to run, with gas/condensate targets attracting increased activity. And the Bakken has room to grow, as the Montana side sparks interest anew.
But the other major shales have shown a surprising resilience too, holding steady across the board—and with the Marcellus even posting a 39% gain since 2Q 2010. Also worth noting are 14% and 43% increases, respectively, for the overall tight sands and CBM rig counts since the 2Q—despite a drop of about 30% in gas prices. It looks as if it will take sub-$3/Mcf gas to knock the unconventional rig count off its plateau, even if its growth slows down.