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Barnett Shale: 'Gold Mine' or 'Curse'?

"There's a whole lake of oil down there," said the oil man, as Dianna Wray writes for the Victoria Advocate. "But we don't know how to get it." The oil man was years ago speaking to a married couple, homeowners who live on the Barnett Shale, when it was almost common knowledge that there was no feasible way to get at the oil under it.

But that was then and this is now, a time when hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") has opened the field, so to speak, for oil and gas workers to get at that lake of oil and natural gas under the Barnett Shale.

As Wray reports, the whole thing started in the late 1990s, when the secrets to unlocking the treasure came in the form of fracking, and by 2002 there were oil leases and oil tankers and oil men (and women) scurrying across what some people consider to be one of the largest - if not the largest - shale plays of natural gas in the entire U.S.

The Barnett Shale is a 5,000 square-mile behemoth, covering 24 Texas counties, and has been producing to the present day.

But some people think it's a "curse," others a "gold mine."

As Wray reports, one Texas state lawmaker said, "If I was in the Eagle Ford, I'd learn about roads, get good relationships going, watch water supplies and try to learn from the Barnett Shale. Learn from what we went through."

Source: Riches or ruins? Lessons from Barnett Shale

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