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What is the Haynesville Shale?
Until now, the production of oil and gas in Louisiana has been obtained from the conventional subsurface reservoirs that are located in sandstone or limestone formations.
The Haynesville Play is predicated on shale as the subsurface source of natural gas, according to information from M.B. Kumar, Office of Conservation geologist administrator.
The shale is a rock formation mainly composed of consolidated clay-sized particles deposited and buried in the north Louisiana geological basin more than 170 million years ago during the geologic Jurassic time. It's characterized by ultra-low permeability in contrast with the conventional sandstone/limestone reservoir rocks that have high permeability.
In geological basins outside of Louisiana, gas shales have been one of the hottest plays in the U.S. for gas production from shallow depth ranges above 8,500 feet. The Haynesville Shale, however, entails well drilling below 10,000 feet.
"It contains a lot of natural gas that could be easily released by fracturing that. It requires special technology that they are now using," Kumar said.
The Haynesville play is estimated to be over 200 feet thick under the Elm Grove Field. Fields that are known to operators by such names as Elm Grove, Johnson Branch and Bethany-Longstreet are being accessed to learn more about the Haynesville Shale, but most agree more drilling and core data sampling is needed before definitive answers are known.
To date, there have been 30 units (a unit being 640 acres) formed for the Haynesville Shale in the Caspiana, Metcalf and Johnson Branch fields.
A similar play in the northwest Louisiana area is the Jurassic Zone Play, Kumar said, which involves the combination of several formations, the Cotton Valley, the Bossier, the Haynesville and the Smackover or combination of the Cotton Valley and one or more of these formations. The fields, the parishes and the units proposed or formed for the Jurassic Zone and the companies who are active in those areas are:
• Trenton (DeSoto): eight proposed units, 640 acres each, Shell Western E&P.