Tuscaloosa Marine Shale exploration to increase this year

Residents in Mississippi and Louisiana have already seen an increase in oil exploration in recent years, but 2014 is expected to be the year that oil production spikes in the two states.

Residents in Mississippi and Louisiana have already seen an increase in oil exploration in recent years, but 2014 is expected to be the year that oil production spikes in the two states, The Associated Press reported.

Almite County, Miss., for example, sits above the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, which also stretches into Louisiana and is estimated to hold 7 billion barrels of oil. While energy companies have known about the shale for years, the advanced technology and cost to develop the land was expensive and slow, the AP said. However, with the use of hydraulic fracturing, energy companies are moving into the area - Encana Corp. and Goodrich Petroleum to name a couple. These two companies alone plan to spend hundreds of millions developing the shale in 2014, the AP reported.

Goodrich CEO Robert Turnham said the company could double or even triple its existing 30 wells in the region this year, according to the AP.

"It's at a stage where you need more wells that have consistent results, that show the repeatable results there are in other plays," Turnham said.

Halcón Resources also recently announced it plans to drill up to a dozen wells in the shale formation this year, The Advocate reported. The energy company has leased about 307,000 acres of land, with the majority of it being located in southwest Mississippi.

"We have been working the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale from a geologic standpoint and monitoring industry activity in the play for quite some time," said Charles E. Cusack III, chief operating officer, according to The Advocate.

PennEnergy's research area offers more information on shale exploration.

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