Dan Steward worked at Mitchell Energy on the development of the first shale-gas play, the Barnett play in north central Texas. George Mitchell challenged his geologists to expand their gas reserves in the Ft. Worth Basin to fill his gas pipelines. Dan and his colleagues focused on developing the Barnett shale gas, where their efforts were a hard, slow process, one that included much experimentation. They developed fracture stimulation and experimented with horizontal drilling technology. Horizontal wells were not drilled in the Mitchell Energy development process, however, until after the company merger with Devon Energy. The lengthy experimentation process undertaken by Mitchell Energy broke the ground in understanding unconventional shale-gas and oil plays. There were times when many within Mitchell Energy were ready to abandon the Barnett play, but George would not let that happen. The Barnett team integrated the testing results of DOE wells in the Appalachians with experimental hydraulic fracturing with the multistage fracturing techniques developed for tight gas sands. The successful development of this play inspired operators to develop many other unconventional plays in the United States and around the world. Dan received the AAPG Norman H. Foster Outstanding Explorer Award for his efforts.

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See Also...

Larry Meckel - Clastic Research Project, Shell Development Company, 1948 – 1973 (Part 4)
Mark Williams, Lyn Canter, Orion Skinner, and Mark Sonnenfeld - Whiting Petroleum's Exploration and Development of the Bakken, Pronghorn, and Three Forks Reservoirs (Part 2)