The new era of domestic energy production is possible because of precision drilling into vast oil and natural gas shale formations that lie beneath our country’s soil and off our coastlines.  Advances in horizontal drilling technologies – when combined with our 60 year history of safe hydraulic fracturing – has the potential to unlock hundreds of years of domestic energy, thus increasing our energy security and creating American jobs.

The Institute for Energy Research exists to educate the public about the economic and energy potential that development of our vast shale resources promises. These fact sheets will help policymakers realize the enormous energy potential in the United States. By tapping into these shale formations — safely and efficiently — we can create American jobs, provide more energy at lower prices, increase government revenues, and become one step closer to American energy independence.



The Bakken Formation is an oil field located in western North Dakota, northeast Montana, and parts of Saskatchewan. Geologists have known for a long time that this formation contains a lot of oil, but because the oil is tightly locked in shale rock, we have been unable to produce much of the oil economically.  But due to recent advancements in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, extraction of this oil is now possible at a reasonable price.

To read more about the energy miracle in the Bakken Shale formation, click here.


The Barnett Shale is a geological formation in North Texas that contains an estimated 40 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas. This vast energy resource was the first unconventional shale formation to yield large quantities of natural gas, demonstrating that shale gas could be produced profitably by using hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies. Currently, it is one of the most active shale formations with 15,000 wells drilled to date.

To read more about the energy miracle in the Barnett Shale formation, click here.


The Eagle Ford Shale formation, located in Texas and extending into Mexico, contains 3.4 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil and 20.8 trillion cubic feed of technically recoverable natural gas.  Since development first began in 2008, the Eagle Ford Shale has become one of the most active drilling areas in the world. Production increases in Eagle Ford from 2010 t0 2011 accounted for 85 percent of the total increase in Texas’ production during that period.

To read more about the energy miracle in the Eagle Ford Shale formation, click here.


The Haynesville Shale, also known as the Hanesville/Bossier Shale, is a rock formation that contains vast quantities of natural gas under 9,000 square miles of East Texas, Southwestern Arkansas, and Western Louisiana. The formation lies between 10,500 to 13,500 feet below ground, and it averages approximately 250 feet thick.  It is one of the largest natural gas formations in the United States, containing an estimated 75 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas. By some estimates, Haynesville could be the eighth largest natural gas field in the world.

To read more about the energy miracle in the Haynesville Shale formation, click here.


The Marcellus Shale formation is one of the largest shale formations in the United States and underlies parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and small portions of Maryland and Virginia. Geologists estimate that Marcellus contains as much as 84 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.  The first natural gas well was drilled in the Marcellus in 2003, but it wasn’t until 2008 that production rapidly increased — thanks to safe hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies.

To read more about the energy miracle in the Marcellus Shale formation, click here.


The Utica Shale formation is an expansive oil and natural gas field that is located in parts of Quebec, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.  At an estimate 170,000 square miles, the Utica Shale is estimated to be nearly twice the size of its more famous neighbor, the Marcellus Shale.  Although Utica is larger than Marcellus, it lies deeper and as a result has not seen as much development as the Marcellus.

To read more about the energy miracle in the Utica Shale formation, click here.



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