Refracs & recompletions drive jump in Barnett activity

byErin Faulkner

During 2022, the number of horizontal wells completed and brought online in the Barnett Shale rose to its highest point since 2014.  

Operators in the North Texas play reported 360 completions brought online during the year to state regulators, up from 314 in 2021, according to Enverus Foundations. The O.G. of the shale patch, the Barnett saw its peak in completion activity in 2008 when nearly 2,400 producing wells were added.  

Why the resurgence in completion activity?

A mixture of weakening gas prices and the lure of more productive and oilier shale plays drove declines in activity through 2017, when only 55 completions were brought online. The early Barnett was truly Shale 1.0. The opportunity to revisit those early wellbores has driven a resurgence in completion activity in recent years by a small group of operators. Comparing the number of completions in a year to the number of wells reaching first production in the same year in Enverus Foundations provides a rough idea of the number of new wells versus refracs or recompletions. All wells with producing or inactive producer status were included in the filter, while completed, inactive completed and P&A wells were excluded.  


Based on this logic, refracs and recompletions have increased from 4% of the Barnett’s total completions in 2014 to 88% in 2021 and 79% last year. 

Who are the main drivers of completion activity? 

  1. BKV Corp., a Denver-based E&P company majority owned by Thai mining and power company Banpu, was the main driver of 2022 completion activity with 224 wells turned online, but only 4% are estimated to be new wells.  
  1. The second-most active operator was Crescent Energy at 62 TILs, all of which are estimated to be refracs or recompletions.  
  1. Sage Natural Resources completed 24 wells, with all appearing to be new wells. 
  1. TotalEnergies completed 20 wells, with 85% new.  

The 360 TILs were reported by a total of nine operators. In comparison, back in 2008 there were 59 operators active in the play, led by Devon Energy, Chesapeake Energy, EOG Resources, XTO Resources and Quicksilver Resources, all of which reported more than 200 completions that year. 

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Picture of Erin Faulkner

Erin Faulkner

Erin Faulkner is a senior editor at Enverus and has been covering the U.S. upstream industry for more than 10 years. She is a graduate of Creighton University.

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