The Haynesville Shale, named after the town of Haynesville in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, is a formation of sedimentary rock that is believed to contain a huge supply of natural gas, enough to satisfy domestic demand in the United States for up to a decade. The formation, or ‘play’ is of major interest to numerous energy companies who have begun exploration and natural gas drilling activities in areas of northwestern Louisiana, eastern Texas, and southwestern Arkansas, and thousands of jobs in the natural gas industry are opening up.
The Haynesville Shale was once considered too expensive for exploration because the formation of shale lies more than two miles below the Earth’s surface. Prior to 2008, drilling a horizontal well in the Haynesville play took 90 days or more, depending on the type of shale present. Now, energy companies can drill a well of equal depth in half the time, thanks to newer drilling techniques and hydraulic fracturing, which uses millions of gallons of pressurized water to fracture the shale.
All this means that the Haynesville Shale is producing at a rate that could make natural gas the fuel of the future, provided that millions of cars, trucks and buses can be successfully converted to run on natural gas, a much cleaner fuel than gasoline or diesel. As a result of higher natural gas prices, faster well drilling procedures, and new technology, thousands of oil and gas jobs have opened up in the areas lying above the Haynesville Shale formation.