Devon sees great potential with Tuscaloosa Shale oil play in Louisiana

By Phaedra Friend Troy

US independent Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN) has completed its first well in the emerging Tuscaloosa Shale oil play in the panhandle of Louisiana. 

Located along the Louisiana-Mississippi border, the Tuscaloosa Shale is stratigraphically equivalent to the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, which is producing oil, liquids and natural gas. Situated in 200- to 400-foot-thick formations, the Tuscaloosa Shale ranges from depths of 11,000 to 14,000 feet below the surface. 

During the company’s first quarter announcements, Devon revealed that it had quietly bought 250,000 acres of leasehold from individuals in the Tuscaloosa Shale oil play in Louisiana. Paying $180 an acre, Devon serves as the operator of the effort. 

With first drilling starting in May 2011, Devon has completed its first well into the source rock, an assessment well drilled vertically to gather information about the formation. The company completed drilling, coring and logging operations on the Lane 64-1 assessment well. 

Devon has since spud its second well in the Tuscaloosa Shale; and this one is a horizontal well. The Beech 68-1H is updip from the first well, and Devon plans to obtain additional core and log data before drilling the lateral and completing the well as its first horizontal in the Tuscaloosa Shale. 

“We will have to find out through drilling, but we think there’s some potential there because of the history of producing oil there,” Chip Minty, media relations manager for Devon told PennEnergy

An innovator in shale development, Devon first became active in the Barnett Shale in Central Texas in 2002, when the company bought Mitchell Energy & Development Corp. 10 years ago. Devon was the first firms to employ horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to extract hydrocarbons trapped in the tight formations. 

Over the last year, Devon has also purchased acreage in the Utica Shale in Ohio and Michigan, as well as the Niobrara Shale play.



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