Underground geological formations may block expansion of Barnett Shale to east, north

Bruce Bullock of SMU's Maguire Energy Institute talks about further exploratory drilling in the Barnett Shale.

The Dallas Morning News

Although Fort Worth has been at the epicenter of natural gas activity in the Barnett Shale, drilling has been moving steadily eastward.

In recent years, gas wells have sprouted on the landscapes of Grand Prairie , Irving, Flower Mound, Grapevine and other mid-city communities.

Now the city of Dallas and residents in Lewisville are being courted by companies that want to tap into the rich underground deposits.

Will mineral owners in McKinney , Plano, Garland  and Mesquite be next in line to find lucrative lease offers in the mail?

Current technology suggests the underground geological formations in North Texas will block eastward expansion. . .

While experts believe these underground formations mark the perimeter of the Barnett Shale, they're quick to point out that scientific advances could change that assumption.

"Based on current technology, we do not anticipate the Barnett Shale moving that much further east," Bruce Bullock, director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business, wrote in an e-mail.

But he adds a caveat: "Twenty years from now, we may have technology to discover something we don't see today."

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