While being a relatively “young” horizontal shale play, the Eagle Ford has been far ahead of many other resource plays – both oil and natural gas – in terms of drilling density. In full development mode, 10-12 wells per spacing unit have become fairly common in many areas of the Eagle Ford (which equates to horizontal laterals spaced by as little as 400 feet). Even greater densities are currently being tested, with as many as 15-16 horizontal wells drilled on a single unit in single horizon.
By comparison, the Bakken has trailed far behind: four wells per spacing unit have been considered a “dense” pattern even in the most productive parts of the play, at least until recently. However, the Bakken is rapidly catching up to the Eagle Ford, with several operators simultaneously testing aggressive density pilots. So far, results are highly encouraging.