DNR Secretary Scott Angelle notes initial production tests in Tuscaloosa Marine Shale trend

12 14, 2011 by Louisiana Department of Natural Resources

Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary Scott Angelle said today that operators targeting the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale trend in Louisiana have reported initial production test results for the first two horizontal wells completed in the play.

Devon reported an initial test of 120 barrels a day in its first completed horizontal Tuscaloosa Marine Shale well in East Feliciana parish, while on the other side of the Mississippi River, Indigo Minerals with its well in Rapides parish reported an initial test of 540 barrels a day.

Devon has hit near its target depth on another Tuscaloosa Marine Shale well in Tangipahoa Parish and has permitted two wells in the play in East Feliciana Parish. Indigo indicated in a release that the company is seeking investor partners to expand operations in the trend, which the company refers to as the “Louisiana Eagle Ford Shale.” The Eagle Ford play is best known in Texas, but in Louisiana, the Eagle Ford and the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale are considered part of the same overall trend.

The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale is believed to underlie much of central Louisiana, with potential productive areas currently being explored from Vernon parish to Tangipahoa parish. The energy industry has been observing the development of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, believed to have the potential to contain oil reserves, in addition to natural gas. New processes and technology have led to rapid gains in domestic oil and natural gas reserves, making them recoverable from ultra-dense formations once thought uneconomical to produce.

“While there is still much work in exploration and appraisal to be done in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale before we know how strong the energy industry’s investment might be, it is extremely encouraging to know that the first two attempts to complete production wells using modern horizontal drilling methods have produced solid tests,” Angelle said. “As more wells are drilled, exploration companies will learn more about formation and better understand how to most economically develop the play and maximize their production, potentially creating greater interest in investing there and expanding exploration.” And the prospect of expansion brings the potential for more jobs and greater economic opportunity both in the energy exploration and production sector and in commercial and retail sectors. This also means the potential for new customers with more spending power.”

In addition to the wells already drilled or permitted, Indigo Minerals and Devon have reported having leased more than 240,000 acres each in different areas of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale play. Encana, a significant player in the development of the Haynesville Shale in northwest Louisiana, has also recently reached target depth on a horizontal Tuscaloosa Marine Shale well in St. Helena parish, but has not yet reported production test figures.