'New Player' Enters Louisiana Austin Chalk
Amelia Resources LLC has sold 40,000 net acres of newly acquired leases in Louisiana Austin Chalk and Louisiana-Mississippi (LAMS) Stack plays to an “undisclosed U.S.-based buyer,” the privately held exploration and production company reported Monday.
“With consistent higher oil prices, the stacking of the Austin Chalk and Tuscaloosa Marine Shale (TMS) make for a very attractive target,” Kirk Barrell, Amelia’s president, said in a written statement. “Continued success in the Texas Austin chalk and comparable matrix porosity across Louisiana and Mississippi present an excellent opportunity for expansion into a new play. We are excited to bring another new player to the region.”
The unnamed “new player” is the latest entrant into the TMS this year. In May, Marathon Oil Corp. secured approximately 180,000 acres in three parishes, according to the “Tuscaloosa Trend” blog. In the Aug. 1 press release announcing its second quarter results, Marathon stated that it plans to drill its first exploration well in the Louisiana Austin Chalk during the second half of this year. Additionally, ConocoPhillips reported in April that it plans to drill several exploration wells in newly acquired Louisiana Austin Chalk acreage. This page on the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources website presents additional information about activities in the play.
The TMS geologic formation is believed to hold approximately 7 billion barrels of light, sweet crude in an area spanning 28 Louisiana parishes and several southwestern Mississippi counties, according to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The university is hosting a research consortium that aims to better understand how to develop the TMS, whose unstable geology has thwarted recovery efforts. It is one recipient of a $9.7 million federal grant that also includes Los Alamos National Laboratory, Missouri University of Science and Technology, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Southern Mississippi.
“We already have some of the best U.S. operators committed to the play in EOG, ConocoPhillips and Marathon,” said Barrell. “With their significant experience in the same geologically aged reservoirs in Texas, we have high hopes for the future of this stack play.”
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