NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's getting harder to overlook how the recent slide in energy prices is affecting 2015 spending plans. Crude oil has sunk to the $80 per barrel range and natural gas is down below $4 per thousand British thermal units. To shore up cash flows, more energy companies are cutting capital expenditures.
However, the slowdown in spending at ConocoPhillips (COP) , Occidental Petroleum (OXY) , Statoil (STO) , Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) to name a few, is shining a more favorable light on assets in the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale plays, areas offering higher returns and a quicker production growth profile than other shale regions.
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The Marcellus shale play has been a very prolific play, but the best days in the region may well be over. Money has been pouring into the space since 2009; more competition means its going to be more costly. In fact, Chesapeake Energy (CHK) just peeled out of both the Marcellus and Utica areas in a massive deal with Southwestern Energy (SWN) .
The Utica play holds promise, but the State of New York still holds a moratorium on drilling, which has sidelined some investment. Other shale plays have their own concerns. While the Permian is attractive, production goals there are typically more long term. Haynesville has had declining production since 2012 and the tight gas formation of the Barnett makes it harder to get the gas out of the ground.
But troubles that dog those shale oil and gas plays don't seem to appear to the same degree in the Eagle Ford and Bakken. On the contrary, even companies reporting troubles in some regions are saying operations in these two areas are going strong.
That bodes well for EOG Resources (EOG) with 520 net wells in 2014 in the Eagle Ford, according to its October corporate presentation. Another name standing to benefit from increased optimism for the Eagle Ford is Murphy Oil (MUR) . The company just reported a quarterly record in the play exceeding 60,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day, up 15% from the second quarter this year. Carrizo Oil & Gas (CRZO) is also building its position in the Eagle Ford.