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The Barnett Shale located in North Texas, is the largest new onshore natural gas field discovered so far in the U.S. It is a sedimentary rock formation that reaches from Dallas, Texas to Fort Worth.
It produced roughly 3 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in 2007 and production climbed to 4.2 billion per day by the end of the second quarter of 2008. The field adds approximately six percent to total U.S. output. Production since 2003 has quadrupled to more than 1 trillion cubic feet per year. It supplies roughly 75 percent of all shale production coming from the lower 48 States.
The Barnett shale occupies approximately 5,000 square miles of land. It varies in thickness from 100 to 600 feet at depths between 6,500 and 8,500 feet.
Developing the Barnett shale field since the mid-1990s has literally changed the face of Fort Worth, as drilling rigs are planted on virtually any vacant land. Gas company land men even approach suburbanites to sign them up for leases to explore for gas on their lots.
George P. Mitchell was one of the pioneer developers of the Barnett play through his Mitchell Energy & Development which was sold to Devon Energy for roughly $3 billion in 2002. Michell is investing in the Marcellus shale formation in Pennsylvania through Alta Resources LLC.