Barnett Shale Basin in North Texas
Sitting atop what geologists refer to as the Fort Worth Basin lies the Barnett Shale
, a 600-foot thick layer of decomposed organic material deposited 300-320 million years ago that produced methane or natural gas. Believed to be one of the nation's richest natural gas deposits, the Barnett Shale spans a 17-20 county area
estimated to contain 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
As the map illustrates, a portion of Cedar Hill is located over the eastern edge of the Barnett Shale Basin. Experts suggest that this geological formation of sedimentary rock, approximately 1 - 1½ miles below the surface, may be the largest onshore natural gas field in North America, covering approximately 5,000 square miles.
There are a number of energy companies operating in the Barnett Shale, although not all of them perform the same functions. Some companies specialize in leasing mineral rights or running title research. Others are major exploration and production (E&P) companies - also referred to as "operators." Yet others are service companies working primarily for operators in natural gas drilling or well-completion functions. Publicly traded E&P companies with strong operation in this market include Dawson Geophysical
and XTO Energy
. There are also many smaller, privately or foreign-owned energy companies involved in the area. It is advisable to check out the background and references of any companies you may be working with.