Goodrich Petroleum to ramp up oil, gas drilling along Louisiana, Mississippi border

07 08, 2014 by The Times-Picayune

Goodrich Petroleum Corp. said on Monday that it has finished drilling another successful well in the emerging Tuscaloosa Marine Shale reservoir near the Louisiana and Mississippi border. The Houston-based company said it plans to add two drilling rigs in the area by the end of the year.

In a July 7 release, Goodrich told investors the East Feliciana Parish well, known as Beech Grove 94H-1, is producing about 672 barrels of oil and 412,000 cubic feet of natural gas per day.

Those with interests in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale have closely followed Goodrich, as the company seeks a cheaper, more efficient way to drill wells in the area.

Experts estimate the reservoir holds more than 7 billion barrels of oil spanning a large portion of the state's middle section, from Vernon Parish to the west across to Washington and St. Tammany parishes, as well as a section of southwest Mississippi in the east. But the high cost of drilling the dense rock that makes up the area has driven many companies out.

Drilling activity in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale has drawn increased scrutiny as a Metairie company seeks to drill a well targeting the southern edge of the deposit near Mandeville.

St. Tammany Parish residents argue the fracking technique companies use to drill wells will pollute water and the air in the area. During the fracking process, companies pump water, sand and chemicals deep underground at high pressure to force oil and gas out of the shale rock and up to the surface.

Goodrich's Louisiana wells are located closer to the heart of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale reservoir, largely in East Feliciana, St. Helena and Tangipahoa parishes, where drilling activity has been less controversial. The company holds about 300,000 acres total.

Goodrich has drilled or is in the process of drilling more than a dozen wells in the region. Three of those wells are nearing completion, including one located in West Feliciana Parish and two in Amite County, Miss.

The company said it plans to increase its rigs in the area from three to five by the end of the year, though a final investment decision will depend on the success of wells currently being drilled.

Investors on Monday morning had a tepid reaction to news of Goodrich's latest well.

Shares in the company were down 7.68 percent to $23.35 each. That's down from a high of $30.52 reached in early June.