In sports, people love to hear about the next big thing. That sense of potential makes us tune in to see what all the chatter is about. So in the spirit of seeking future greats, let’s look at an unconventional energy play in the U.S. that has some industry experts proclaiming it as the next great American energy play.
Sizing it up
Using the same sports analogy, we need a standard to compare with. Much as basketball fans use the term “the next Jordan” as the bar of excellence, oil companies use two unconventional shale plays as the standard bearers for the industry: the Eagle Ford and the Bakken. While there’s some debate as to which play is better than the other, it’s not too much of a stretch to claim that they’re head and shoulders above the other areas.
Although both energy plays are different in many ways, they both have one thing in common: a strong liquids portfolio. So when we talk about the next great American energy play, we’re going to make sure it isn’t a gas-heavy giant like the Marcellus shale. The Bakken has a distinct advantage in the type of crude it produces. Continental Resources, Inc. (NYSE:CLR)‘ wells in the Bakken are producing crude with an average API gravity of 42 degrees, a sulfur content about one-third less than other U.S. crudes, and one of the highest gasoline percentages of any crude in the country.
The Eagle Ford’s advantage comes from its location. Hugging the Rio Grande just before it spills into the Gulf of Mexico, the basin has the advantage of being right next to the heart of America’s oil and gas refining. Being so close to this region, which has been in the energy business for more than a century, also gives it a robust pipeline infrastructure to move product to its final destination.
So if you’re scoring at home, we want a liquids-heavy play with high-quality crude and immediate access to pipelines and refineries.
So what’s the SCOOP with this new energy play?