Fayetteville Shale

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Fayetteville Shale Sandstone
Stratigraphic range: Mississippian
Outcrop of the lower Fayetteville shale in northern Arkansas.
Type Geological formation
Underlies Pitkin Limestone,[1] Morrow Hale Sandstone[2]
Overlies Rudell Shale, Batesville Sandstone [1] Moorefield Shale[2]
Area Arkansas
Thickness 50 to 500 feet (15 to 152 m)
Region Arkansas
Country United States
Extent 50 miles (80 km)
Type section
Named for Fayetteville, Arkansas
Map of USA AR.svg
The Fayetteville formation runs widespread across Arkansas

The Fayetteville Shale is a geologic formation of Mississippian age (354–323 million years ago) composed of tight shale within the Arkoma basin of Arkansas.[3] It is named for the city of Fayetteville, Arkansas, and requires hydraulic fracturing to release the natural gas contained within.

Natural gas[edit]

Gas production from Fayetteville Shale

The formation holds natural gas in a fine-grained rock matrix which requires hydraulic fracturing to release the gas.[4] This process became cost-effective in some shales such as the Fayetteville after years of experimentation in the Barnett Shale in North Texas, especially when combined with horizontal drilling.

The US Energy Information Administration estimated that the 5,853 square miles (15,160 km2) shale play held 13,240 billion cubic ft (375 billion cubic meters) of unproved, technically recoverable gas.[3] The average well was estimated to produce 1.3 billion cubic feet of gas.[5]


  1. ^ a b Freemen, T. Fossils of Arkansas. Arkansas Geologic Commission.
  2. ^ a b "Major Stratigraphic Layers of the Fayetteville Shale Formation". Chesapeake Energy, Inc. Retrieved July 25, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Reed, Michael (June 2013). "Shale Play Should See Added Capacity Next 2 Years". Pipeline & Gas Journal. Houston, TX: Oildom Publishing Company. 240 (6): 46. 
  4. ^ "About the Fayetteville Shale". University of Arkansas. Retrieved July 25, 2011. 
  5. ^ US Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy outlook 2012, accessed 14 Sept. 2013.