Shale Tech: Eagle Ford rig count down; operators cautiously bullish as permits, new wells soar ///

Firmly etched in Richard Stoneburner’s psyche is Oct. 11, 2008. On that doubly memorable Saturday, while the University of Texas aficionado was watching his football team dismantle then number-one-ranked Oklahoma University in their annual grudge match, word came down that the textbook geological evaluation of a young South Texas shale that he helped orchestrate had, likewise, delivered a winner. Flash forward nearly four years and the former president of Petrohawk Energy Corp., which Australian behemoth BHP Billiton Petroleum acquired last August, does not appear the least bit surprised that year-on-year drilling and production records have become givens in the Eagle Ford shale play. After all, he says, by virtually any standard of measurement, the triple-window Eagle Ford meets most of the criteria for an idyllic hydrocarbon province.

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