Louisiana Tuscaloosa marine shale drilling eyed

Alan Petzet
OGJ Chief Editor-Exploration

HOUSTON, May 16 – Several operators have amassed large land positions in Louisiana and are preparing to target oil in the Tuscaloosa marine shale (TMS), stratigraphic equivalent of the South Texas Eagle Ford shale.

Indigo II Louisiana Operating LLC, Houston, formed in 2006, has accumulated more than 240,000 net acres of leasehold and mineral fee land in central Louisiana that it believes prospective in the TMS, a position nearly equal to that of Devon Energy Corp., which holds 250,000 acres.

Indigo said the horizontal TMS play will “involve considerable time and capital to fully develop and it is Indigo’s intent to eventually secure a joint venture partner in order to establish oil production over the entirety of its leasehold.”

The formation could contain 7 billion bbl of recoverable oil, wrote Chacko J. John and coauthors in 1997 in describing a study conducted by the Basin Research Institute at Louisiana State University (see map, OGJ, Dec. 29, 1997, p. 91).

Indigo will horizontally drill the TMS at the Bentley Lumber 23H-1, in 23-5n-5w, Rapides Parish, La. The well is permitted to 15,500 ft measured depth including a 4,000-ft lateral at 10,600 ft true vertical depth. The company plans 15 frac stages in the TMS.

The planned wellsite is 8 miles north of the vertical Bentley Lumber 32-1, in 4n-5w, Vernon Parish, which Indigo drilled and completed earlier this year. The company took full conventional cores through the TMS section, ran a suite of modern logs, and tested the objective section with two frac stages.

The 32-1 well went to 12,020 ft TD and established production of 42.2° gravity oil from the TMS in the center of Indigo’s acreage position.

Indigo noted that Devon described the TMS as being 200-400 ft thick at 11,000-14,000 ft across Devon’s acreage position. Devon plans two horizontal wells this year, the first of which is projected to include a 5,280-ft lateral resulting in a total measured depth of more than 20,000 ft with as many as 15 frac stages.

Denbury Resources Inc., Plano, Tex., and a recently secured joint venture partner plan to horizontally drill for the same TMS target. Denbury acquired Encore Acquisition Co., Fort Worth, which had accumulated at least 210,000 net acres along the Louisiana-Mississippi line and drilled in both states to the highly overpressured TMS (OGJ Online, Oct. 29, 2008).

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