Shell Oil Is Back in Kansas

Kansas Viewpoint

The "majors" of oil exploration left Kansas years ago but new technology means big new gambles on finding big reserves

Published on: October 4, 2011
Shell Oil will spud its first well in the search for Mississippi Lime oil in south-central Kansas on Wednesday.

It's the first time in almost 30 years that Shell has been active in Kansas.

The new well is in the hottest thing going in oil exploration today, the Mississippi Lime, a formation in Kansas considered "tapped out" years ago for traditional, vertical wells. But new technology, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, is promising huge reserves of oil in northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas.

In a time when land prices have already skyrocketed, this is another element of upward pressure.

Landowners sitting on old, low-producing or even plugged wells are finding their mineral rights in high demand again as new leases for horizontal drilling are negotiated. In drought-stricken southern Kansas, that's money in the bank at a time when it's badly needed.