Recent success in the Bakken Shale play in North Dakota has prompted smaller companies to seek other shale deposits, such as the Barnett and Eagle Ford formations in Texas and the Niobrara Shale in Colorado in search of comparable gains. "There's been a bit of a land rush in places like the Niobrara. There have been rumors, which were later confirmed, that a few companies have had success with their test horizontal wells there. So companies are scrambling to add more acreage," said Kenneth Carroll of Johnson Rice & Co.

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