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The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale: Another Bakken?

General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

Re: The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale: Another Bakken?

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sun 08 Feb 2009, 21:50:53

OilFinder2 wrote:North Dakota's oil production is up to 215K bpd as of November (link, PDF, scroll to bottom of page). That's up from about 100K bpd at the beginning of 2006 - an increase of 115K bpd in 3 years, nearly all of which has come from the Bakken and the associated Three Forks/Sanish formation just below it.

So, if you've got several of these, added together they can start to add up. Let's say there are 6 or more of these oil-bearing shale formations scattered around the US. There's already threads here on 3 - the Bakken itself, this one, and the Woodford Shale. There are certain to be others of various sizes - for example, early last year EOG drilled a well in the Niobrara shale in northern Colorado with an initial flow rate of 550 bpd. They're even starting to find and drill oil from the Barnett shale, which until now had been considered a natural gas play. And so on.

Out of these 6, assume you've got 5 bigger ones producing an average of, say, 150K bpd, and maybe several other smaller ones producing a total of another 150K bpd. That's 900K bpd. In a nation which currently produces about 5 million bpd, a 900K bpd addition would be a significant boost.

Even if you only had 4 of these producing at an average of 100K bpd, a 400K bpd addition to a nation producing 5 million bpd is still a noticeable 8% increase

Certainly its nice to find small oil fields in the continental US, and I agree that it is likely there are quite a few more plays to be found on various shale formations that might be productive. But the Bakken has been ballyhooed as new giant multi-billion barrel oil province when it is just a widespread shale formation that has been explored for decades and may have some small oil fields associated with it that can be economically tapped with horizontal drilling. The Tuscaloosa and other shales are also highly unlikely to ever produce millions of barrels of oil per day, or to reach the billion barrel level.
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Re: The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale: Another Bakken?

Unread postby copious.abundance » Sun 08 Feb 2009, 21:55:27

^
That didn't make much sense. If a 115k bpd (and possibly more) rate of production after just 3 years of development only counts as a small oil field, then nothing would satisfy you.
Stuff for doomers to contemplate:
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1190117.html#p1190117
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1193930.html#p1193930
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1206767.html#p1206767
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Re: The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale: Another Bakken?

Unread postby copious.abundance » Thu 12 Feb 2009, 20:59:34

We have (more-or-less) confirmation of the 600-700 bpd figure cited by my "informal news source" for Encore's Weyerhauser well.

However they've got some work to do to bring down the costs. Bakken wells typically cost about $4-$6 million these days, and this one ran a bill of $11 million.

>>> Encore Acquisition Q4 Conference Call - Seeking Alpha <<<
[...]

Now, let me fill you in on the TMS play. We brought on our third well and it came in at over 500 barrels a day. So, we’re pretty pleased with that, and that was encouraging. I think the problem with this play that we’re seeing is that the wells cost over $11 million when you include our trouble time.

And right now it’s hard to keep drilling those in a $40 price environment. I think if we do anything in TMS, it will be towards the end of 2009 and when we’re more comfortable with the budget and seeing how the free cash flow has paid down debt.

So I think we’re just going to be cautious. We’re excited about it and we’re excited to see that rate. It’s also time for us to go back and do more science on this. We need to do more science on the completion and relook at our drilling and different ways to drill these wells and maybe figure out a way to drill them more efficiently. But we were encouraged with the rate.

[...]

Then down near the bottom of this page here in response to a question he said it would be more attractive if oil prices were higher. Then at the top of the next page he says the goal is to get the well costs down to about $6-$7 million per well.

So, looks like some promise, but nothing too exciting - yet. For the time being perhaps we can call this "Another Bakken, but more expensive." :)

On March 3rd they're holding an analyst's meeting in New York, maybe we'll learn a little more then.
Stuff for doomers to contemplate:
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1190117.html#p1190117
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1193930.html#p1193930
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1206767.html#p1206767
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Re: The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale: Another Bakken?

Unread postby copious.abundance » Mon 16 Feb 2009, 03:36:25

OK, I'm going to post this post not to make any notable statements about anything, but to give anyone doing research on this shale a few obscure and unexpected places to start looking. I've noticed this thread already comes up second on google if you type in "Tuscaloosa Marine Shale" so hopefully I can help someone.

:-D

I've been looking everywhere on the internet to try to find out exactly how far north, south, east and west this thing goes, but it looks like no one is really sure. The area cited in the study I linked on the first page happened to be the boundaries of a study area some researchers back in 1999 decided to choose - why, I'm not sure. However, I doubted the boundaries of the shale conveniently stopped at the Louisiana-Mississippi boundary on the east, and at the Louisiana-Texas boundary on the west - which is what the study showed. So, doubting that, I've tried to find out if anyone knows the "real" boundaries of this shale, but have come up dry.

If it's called the "Tuscaloosa" Marine Shale, wouldn't that mean it goes all the way up to . . . Tuscaloosa? [smilie=dontknow.gif]

Only one way to find out . . .

I first found some indications it might go as far east as west-central Georgia. Maybe (see last link below). Otherwise it appears certain to me to go into southern Mississippi and Alabama. But I'm no geologist so I'm not familiar with some of the distinctions in terminology (and name-ology) geologists use, so this is just a stab to get anyone who's interested a place to start.

As a disclaimer, I'm not claiming these locations of the shale have any oil or gas in them, I just wanna find out how far this thing extends.

One important thing I did find out was that this shale is this is part of what's often referred to as the "Tuscaloosa Group" or also the "Tuscaloosa-Woodbine Shale" or the "Tuscaloosa-Woodbine Group." In other documents I've found it referred to as the "Marine Tuscaloosa Shale." Damn geologists should take a clue from biologists and standardize the names of these things. In Latin!

Anyway, here goes . . .

This link here (PDF) is a study for a CO2 sequestering project. They're looking for good spots to store power plant CO2 undergound, and it just so happens that part of the "Tuscaloosa Group" has good characteristics for doing so. But they've also encountered the "Marine Tuscaloosa Formation" when taking their core samples. The site is in Jackson County, which is in far southeastern Mississippi. Page 16 says the Marine Tuscaloosa is at 7,670 feet below the surface here and is 490 feet thick. Page 19 confirms it's a shale they're referring to. Page 21 has a picture of the core sample and (I think) a drilling log.

Next we can go a bit farther east into southern Alabama. This PDF here is for yet another CO2 sequestering study for yet another power plant. The "Marine Tuscaloosa Shale" here, according to the diagram, is found from about 6,400 to about 6,750 feet deep. There's even an oil field here (the Citronelle Field) with 42-46 degree oil. The TMS (or, should I say, the MTS) is the seal for this field. This link also has a hydrocarbon maturity chart, and my highly inexpert eye thinks the TMS might be "early mature" here but I can't really tell. Apparently the TMS is not the source for the oil field, just the seal.

Next we go all the way back to 1980. Here (PDF) are synopses of presentations at a conference called "Geology of the Woodbine and Tuscaloosa Formations." Obviously they've known there's oil and gas in this formation for decades, but as everyone knows, it wasn't until horizontal drilling and fraccing and blah blah blah that they've been able to actually get the oil and gas out of these things, but anyway . . . somewhere at the beginning of the document it says something about the formation (maybe not the shale itself) going all the way into far western Georgia. Page 24 talks explicitly about the "Marine Shale" of the Tuscaloosa Group once again going into southern Alabama, and has another associated oil field (the South Carlton Field). Page 26 says something about Lee and Russel counties, in east-central Alabama near the Georgia border . . . but we still aren't anywhere near Tuscaloosa. Page 28 finally says something about this going all the way up to northwest Alabama, northeast Mississippi and western Tennessee, and from what I can understand it surfaces up there ("Outcrop" in the title). I guess you could say Tuscaloosa is in northwestern Alabama, so maybe that's where it got its name.

Anyway those were the most interesting links. Yes, I was bored and had nothing better to do. But I hope I help someone out. :)

EDIT: Just found something interesting.

>>> Geology of Alabama <<<

Image
^
According to the caption the broad green stripe going from the NW part of the state and swinging through the central part of the state is the Tuscaloosa Group. I'm guessing this is where it surfaces, then gets deeper as it goes south and west. If you pull out a map of Alabama you can see where Tuscaloosa County is on this thing.

A similar map of Mississippi here shows the Tuscaloosa Group surfacing in the NE corner of the state. Then I'm guessing the green Cretaceous lobe in western Tennessee on this map here is the Tuscaloosa Group surfacing in Tennessee.
Stuff for doomers to contemplate:
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1190117.html#p1190117
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1193930.html#p1193930
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1206767.html#p1206767
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Re: The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale: Another Bakken?

Unread postby copious.abundance » Fri 06 May 2011, 01:00:06

Finally some news on this!

BTW, could a mod please move this thread to the Americas section? Thanks.

Denbury Resources - who bought out Encore Acquisition a year or two ago - had their 1st quarter conference call recently and said they've got a joint venture lined up.

LINK
We'll switch gears and talk a little bit about Denbury's position in the Tuscaloosa marine shale in Mississippi and Louisiana. We acquired approximately 200,000 acres of leases in Mississippi and Louisiana with short lease expirations through our Encore acquisition. Encore has spent a conservative amount of capital and time testing the Tuscaloosa marine shale, which resulted and the only Tuscaloosa marine shales with continuous production to date. Given our planned activity in our CO2 EOR operations in the Bakken and the relatively short period of time before leases were going to expire, we decided to seek a joint venture partner to continue testing the Tuscaloosa marine shale.

We have entered into an agreement with a joint venture partner covering approximately 100,000 acres of the Tuscaloosa marine shale acreage that had not yet expired. Under this agreement, the joint venture partner provided immediate capital to extend expiring leases, has a right to elect to complete a well that was never completed, drill and complete one additional well, and to carry us in additional leak -- lease acquisitions until such time as an agreed-upon amount of capital is invested. After the joint venture partner has expended the agreed-upon capital by completing the one well, drilling an additional well and/or acquiring additional leases, Denbury will have the opportunity to participate for 15% working interest in all future drilling on a unit-by-unit election.

etc.


I don't know for sure, but I wonder if the JV partner is Devon? Some info from a blogger who's started keeping track of TMS news:

>>> Devon Energy Announces The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale Play
· The TMS is the stratigraphical equivalent to the Eagle Ford Shale
· The TMS is approximately 200 to 400 feet thick, at depths of 11,000 to 14,000 feet across the acreage position
· Oil production has been established, up dip in the play from the TMS
· They plan to utilize horizontal drilling and fracture stimulation to enhance the productivity of the reservoir in both the oil and liquids rich portion of the play.
· They have leased or have committed under contract approximately 250,000 prospective net acres, at an average cost of $180 per acre.
· They plan to drill the first two horizontal wells in the play this year.

Etc.


So, either the two companies are going to do a JV, or we've got two notable companies (especially Devon) who are stirring things up there.

On Page 2 a guy at Denbury sounds like they're thinking of developing it using EOR with CO2 flooding. Would be interesting:
No, I mean we could. It's just that the results are very, very early in this play. I mean, even some of the comments yesterday -- I've heard several people mentioned it is frontier. So we've got a lot of opportunities to continue our EOR development, and we're just going to watch our JV partner and see if we can -- if they can unlock secrets to the Tuscaloosa marine shale and then when we feel like it's de-risked further that we can look at developing the TMS under our existing CO2 floods.


So much excitement! :-D
Stuff for doomers to contemplate:
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1190117.html#p1190117
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1193930.html#p1193930
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1206767.html#p1206767
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Re: The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale: Another Bakken?

Unread postby copious.abundance » Mon 20 Jun 2011, 19:38:18

Activity here seems to be heating up.

LINK
Operators Look to Unlock Tuscaloosa Marine Shale Potential
by Karen Boman|Rigzone Staff|Monday, June 20, 2011

The Tuscaloosa Marine shale play, which covers 2.7 million acres across central Louisiana and southwest Mississippi, could emerge as the next big shale oil play.

Devon Energy first reported in early May its activity in the play, which is similar in geology to the Eagle Ford, and is believed to have the same potential for development and production. Devon holds 250,000 acres in the play; Devon spokesperson Chip Minty said it is still too early to quantify the liquids content of this acreage. The company plans to drill two horizontal wells this year on its Tuscaloosa shale acreage. Last month, Devon spud the Lane 64-1 well, in East Feliciana Parish, La., the first of these two wells, which was drilling at 15,134 feet as of June 14, nearly at total depth.

[...]
Stuff for doomers to contemplate:
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1190117.html#p1190117
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1193930.html#p1193930
http://peakoil.com/forums/post1206767.html#p1206767
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Re: The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale: Another Bakken?

Unread postby Hughj » Mon 20 Jun 2011, 19:46:33

Isn't it telling that nobody here really cares about domestic oil discoveries? Very telling.

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Re: The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale: Another Bakken?

Unread postby Hughj » Mon 20 Jun 2011, 20:17:44

Off topic post deleted.
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