Tight oil refers to formations where the ground is so impermeable that the only way to extract the crude is with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Shale plays are the best known examples, and North Dakota’s Bakken is often considered the standard.
But IHS reports that, on average, Eagle Ford wells out-produce wells in the Bakken by a margin of two to one. That’s attracting rising merger and acquisition interest in the Eagle Ford, according to IHS director of equity research Andrew Byrne.
“You go through the initial land speculation stage, where the plays are occupied and dominated by a lot of smaller E&P companies. But then when you get to the actually highly capital intensive development stage, it makes lot of sense for these very small E&Ps to sell out to larger, better capitalized players.”
M&A deal values for the Eagle Ford have been rising over the past year and a half — averaging $14,000 per acre in 2011, with top prices approaching $25,000 per acre.