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Introducing the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale

Around these parts, we have a word that aptly describes shale formations: ubitquitious. (sic)

Every conventional oil and gas basin must have a hydrocarbon source, and that source is a shale. And since shales are low in permeability, we’re finding that the source rock still contains plenty of hydrocarbons, if you can figure out how to get the stuff out.

One of the newly-emerging plays is the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, which is being explored in a wide arc that cuts across central Louisiana and southern Mississippi.

Although the promise of the Marine Shale has yet to be proved, there is reason for optimism: if you follow that arc to the west, roughly parallel to the Texas coast, you’re smack-dab in the middle of the Eagle Ford trend of south Texas, currently the site of one of the hottest oil drilling plays in the country. The Tusc is equivalent in age to the Eagle Ford, and the newest well just tested almost 800 barrels of oil per day.

Yes, the shales are indeed ubiquitious.

Tuscaloosa shale promising

St. Helena well’s initial production spurs interest

The Encana Weyerhauser well, completed in November, averaged 784 barrels of oil per day and 309,000 cubic feet of natural gas, according to Encana’s filing with the state Department of Natural Resources. …

Around two dozen wells have been drilled or are being drilled in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, an oil-rich formation that covers Louisiana’s midsection. Energy companies have leased more than 1 million acres in the formation, but so far the firms aren’t sharing much of their early production figures.

Kirk A. Barrell, president of Amelia Resources, of Texas, said before the formation can be considered economically viable, 10 to 20 wells will have to be completed.

“You need the initial (production) rates for 10 to 20 wells, but you also need to get 12 to 15 months out and see what the decline of that rate is,” Barrell said.

Barrell has a blog called The Tusacaloosa Trend:

Sources indicate that Devon will be adding a 2nd rig to the TMS play soon. Encana, who has been rumored for weeks to be adding rigs, now appears to be slowing down the plan. Several sources indicate that it is for corporate reasons relating to very depressed natural gas prices and not the TMS results. The initial rates on the Weyerhaeuser 73H-1 and their record drilling time and lateral length on the Anderson 17H-1 are very encouraging. Sources indicate that after 5-6 completions, a full operational plan will be implemented.

It is worth noting that RedState’s editor, Erick Erickson, attended high school in Jackson, LA. Jackson is in East Feliciana Parish, right in the heart of the Marine Shale play. Considering that Erick’s younger years were spent in Abu Dhabi, we should not be surprised if eventually oil and gas leasing action heats up in and around Macon, GA.

Cross-posted at stevemaley.com.


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