By Skip Peel
CHRONOLOGY OF THE EARLY HAYNESVILLE SHALE PLAY IN NW. LOUISIANA
The first Haynesville Shale well in the state of Louisiana was permitted January 12, 2006 by Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. as a product type “00” (No Product Specified). It was drilled in Section 15 – Township 13N – Range 9W of Red River Parish in the Martin Field. The JUR RA SUA; ADCOCK INV LP ETAL was assigned serial #232697 (API Number 17081208570000). It spudded February 27, 2006 and drilled to a depth of 12,878’. On November 16, 2006 its status was reported as code 27 (Waiting On Orders). Encana converted the well to an “Observation Well” with status code 31 (Shut-In Dry Hole – Future Utility) on January 26, 2007. Since January 27, 2007, it’s last report date, it remains a code 27. From spud to final status report – 364 days. It has never been completed. Encana used the name “Jurassic” for the production zone from this well through all subsequent well and unit applications until December 9, 2008. Other operators using Jurassic for the zone also known as the Haynesville Shale (HA Reservoirs A – D) during the early months of the play, included SWEPI, Questar and EOG. The term “Jurassic” is no longer used.
On January 9, 2007, almost one year to the day from the Encana JUR well permit, Samson Contour Energy E&P, LLC applied to the Commissioner of Conservation-Office of Conservation, “Re: Troy Lime Reservoir A, Sand Unit O – Dissolution; Lower Cotton Valley Sand, Reservoir A, Sand Unit O – Dissolution; Jurassic Zone, Reservoir A – Creation of Additional Units, Martin Field, Red River Parish, Louisiana”. The application stated, “To create three (3) additional drilling and production units for the exploration for and production of gas and condensate from the Jurassic Zone, Reservoir A, in the Martin Field, Red River Parish, Louisiana, said units to be designated JUR RA SUB, JUR RA SUC AND JUR RA SUD”. The unit application then stated that “Pursuant to the Rules of Procedure pre-application notice was given; however no request for the conference was received. Therefore, the conference tentatively scheduled for November 29, 2006, WILL NOT BE HELD. The designated units listed as JUR RA SUB, JUR RA SUC AND JUR RA SUD would appear to indicate that a JUR RA SUA unit had been established previously. A search of data concerning Samson Contour and Township 13N –Range 9W, and adjoining sections, available on the SONRIS database of the LA. Dept. of Natural Resources-Office of Conservation reveals no such unit in Samson Contour’s name.
Twenty months later (September 30, 2008), Samson Contour applied for 3 Drilling/Production Units in the Sligo Field, S33 – T18N – 11W and S3,4 – T17N – 11W. This application changed the zone name to HA RA and once again designated Sand Units B, C and D. It also referenced a Chesapeake well in S13 – T17N – 12W for a depth definition of the zone. Though Samson Contour appears to have missed an early mover opportunity on the front end of the play, they may yet become an active operator as they have filed unit applications in the Caddo Pine Island, Bracky Branch, Longwood and Sligo fields. To date they have one well permitted in the Caddo Pine Island Field (SMK RC SUA: LEFLETT ETAL 7/Serial # 238877) and one in the Sligo Field (HA RA SUB: CYRUS 4/Serial # 238911).
The first unit application for a HA/JUR zone that was actually held occurred June 19, 2007. Encana requested 2 Alternate Unit wells for S15 – 13N – 9W. On July 20, 2007 permits were issued for the two wells, JUR RA SUA; J W ADCOCK INV ETAL, WELL NUMBER 002-ALT (Serial #235996/API Number 17081208750000) and JUR RA SUA; J W ADCOCK INV ETAL, WELL NUMBER 003-ALT (Serial # 235997/API Number 17081208760000). Alternate Well Number 003-ALT, spudded 10/06/2007, was Encana’s first horizontal HA/JUR well. It’s True Vertical Depth was 12,579’ and its Measured Depth was 15,401’. It was completed February 2, 2008. And reported as such on July 9, 2008. Five months later.
Chesapeake Operating, Inc. was issued a well permit on August 30, 2007 for the HA RA SUA: BRAY 27-15-16H (Serial # 236237/API Number 1701734314000) in the Bethany-Longstreet Field, Caddo Parish. It was spudded September 27, 2007, completed on June 14, 2008 and reported as such on August 11, 2008. Chesapeake applied to the Office of Conservation for an HA RA unit in the Caspiana Field, S28 – 15N – 15W of Caddo Parish on Sept. 18, 2007. The Feist 28 (Serial # 236242/API Number 17017343150000) was permitted August 30, 2007, spudded October 12, 2007, completed on January 11, 2008 and reported as such on May 12, 2008. Both the BRAY and the Feist 28 wells were horizontal completions with 4,000’+ laterals.
The first vertical Haynesville/Jurassic zone well permitted as such was by Encana, January 12, 2006. However it was converted to an observation well and never completed. The first drilling and production unit application was by Samson Contour, January 9, 2007. However that public hearing was never held. The first drilling and production unit application to be held was by Encana, June 12, 2007. And their Alternate Well 003-ALT spudded October 6, 2007 was the second horizontal well in the Haynesville Play. Chesapeake Operating, Inc. permitted their first horizontal Haynesville wells, the Bray and Feist 28 wells, on August 30, 2007. The Chesapeake Bray was the first to spud, the Encana Adcock 003-ALT was the second and the Chesapeake Feist 28 was the third. The Feist 28 was the first horizontal completion in the Haynesville Shale Play. The Adcock 003-ALT the second. And the Bray the third. The Feist was the first horizontal well reported as completed to the Office of Conservation. The Adcock 003-ALT second and the Bray third. The assignment of the term, “first”, is subjective. And arbitrary. However, it is clear that both Encana and Chesapeake recognized the tremendous potential of the Haynesville Shale and made a commitment to employ the latest technical drilling and production methods to tap that potential.
Chesapeake has received a majority of the credit for “discovering” the Haynesville Shale, or at least recognizing its potential. Encana seems to prefer a lower key, less publicity driven corporate image but deserves to be recognized as the earliest of the serious shale players. Someday we may know the circumstances behind Samson Contour’s early recognition of the play’s potential but failure to fully exploit the opportunity. Actually the Haynesville Shale was not “discovered” by any of the shale players. It has been known to exist for decades and to contain hydrocarbons. The ability to produce those hydrocarbons locked in the “tight” shale formations is a product of advancing technology. The technology of horizontal, directional drilling, 3-D seismic and hydraulic fracture stimulation. Those technological advances have transformed a high risk search for natural gas into a process more akin to manufacturing. And caused the general public to endlessly debate bonus values, royalty percentages and lease terms. Call it a “Play” or call it a “Boom”, the Haynesville Shale commands attention and holds the promise for a brighter economic future.