Comstock acquiring Tuscaloosa shale lease acres

11 15, 2013 by The Advocate

Some in E. Feliciana and St. Helena parishes

Comstock Resources, of Frisco, Texas, will spend $54.5 million to acquire leases on 55,000 acres in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, with part of the acreage in East Feliciana and St. Helena parishes.

The leases also cover Wilkinson and Amite counties in Mississippi, according to the company.

The Comstock announcement is the second lease sale announced in as many days.

On Wednesday, Amelia Resources LLC announced it had facilitated the sale of more than 95,000 acres in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale. Amelia of The Woodlands, Texas, is also marketing another block, this one 85,000 acres, in the formation.

Comstock said it expects to complete its acquisition in the fourth quarter and is pursuing other lease acquisitions in the Tuscaloosa and another oil formation.

Comstock spokesman Gary Guyton said the company could not release further details of Thursday’s deal or the next possibility in the Tuscaloosa.

Baton Rouge landman Dan S. Collins said Comstock’s entry into the Tuscaloosa, along with larger deals by Halcon Resources Corp. and Goodrich Petroleum Corp., bode well for the formation’s development.

“Things are really clicking in the TMS,” Collins said. “It’s happening. It’s gaining momentum.”

Energy companies follow each other into formations, Collins said, and as they do the development of the formation accelerates.

Goodrich has announced plans to spend $300 million to drill in the Tuscaloosa and run as many as five rigs by the end of 2014. Encana plans to spend $200 million to $300 million and will run three drilling rigs. Sanchez Energy, one of the smaller players in the formation with around 40,000 acres under lease, plans to spend $40 million on wells in 2014.

Drillers believe they are close to understanding the most efficient way to produce oil from the formation, while reducing the costs of wells.

According to RBN Energy, oil and gas industry analysts, the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale offers major advantages over other formations. In addition to oil, the Tuscaloosa lies in a region that has lots of water — hundreds of thousands of gallons are needed to fracture the rock and make it release the oil; plenty of nearby refiners and terminals, which reduces transportation costs; and both Louisiana and Mississippi encourage drilling through tax breaks and low taxes.