Austin Chalk in Louisiana: including Avoyelles, Rapides, Pointe Coupee, Florida Parishes, East Baton Rouge, Vernon

Horizontal drilling, improved seismic testing,  and liner casing are offering new hope for the deep minerals in parts of the Austin Chalk which runs from near Austin, Texas through the middle of Louisiana to Biloxi Mississippi. 

In 1995, the USGS determined that the Austin Chalk is one of our Nation's largest, onshore domestic unconventional, continuous-type oil resource. More recently, exploration and production in frontier areas of Texas and Louisiana have shown that the Austin Chalk has additional potential as a continuous-type deep-gas resource mostly to the east and downdip of existing oil plays.

Over a decade later, now leasing and drilling activity is picking up in certain parishes of Central Louisiana following improved technologies.

Austin chalk runs from above New Orleans to Pointe Coupee, Avoyelles Rapides and Vernon Parishes

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Maybe I dont know how to continue on to the next page, but there was no opportunity to reply to your last post (which is why I am replying to this one). 

If what you are saying is indeed true, then why would Anadarko pursue a tract this size?  

That is a good question. That's one that will get asked. Even if I have to. This is a case of "Share the Wealth by Anadarko". Its interesting that they will get their 75 - 80 % of the production but the land owners/royalty owners will have to share with a much larger pool than if the units were 640 acres. That will reduce the payments to the them but not to Anadarko.

Joe, the Oil and Gas companies would all love to have large units

if they could get it.  Initially the companies do not have to drill

as many wells to hold the larger units verses the smaller 640

acre unit, thus their capital outlay is minimized.  After all their

leasing is done they can then catch up with their drilling by  just

one well per unit, and then they will go back and drill their most

productive units first.  As an example here where I was raised up there

is a field which is just one unit that is between 25,000 and 30,000

acres in size and is being held by just one well which produces

very little.  I don't mean to sound discouraging, but this is what

is happening as well as other not so good things, especially when

so much money is at stake.  Perhaps opposition to such a large

unit acreage will get it reduced to the more common

640 acre size.  

Good Morning Shadow,

I agree and I plan to oppose. It would set a very bad precedent to allow a large unit in an area that has just begun development and where other companies are using the 640 acre unitization scheme. While I don't have acreage in this unit I have property that is geologically the same but to the East. So the size of the unit and the precedent it sets concerns me greatly. At the present time I'm un-leased and I think I would think twice or maybe three times about leasing to a company that would run the unit size up. Exxon and I got in a head butting contest and I busted their block because of their insistence on doing larger than normal units back in the Tuscaloosa days. 

What size unit is Anadarko applying for?
Madman deleted that post. He said it was a 1440 acre unit. I'm going to call Liskow and Lewis Monday and get on the mailing list.


I'll provide a little perspective from the "industry side" which rarely seems to appear on this website.  It is unlikely that any operator would apply for 640 acre units in the Austin Chalk at this depth today with the long lateral holes that are being drilled.  Remember, 640 acres is one square mile and that equates to boundaries of 5280'.  If a company plans to drill a 5000' lateral, they exceeded the dimensions of a 640 acre square unit with 330' restrictions from the unit line.  Early in an exploratory phase of a project, there are numerous unknowns.  In this play currently, companies are likely to attempt much longer laterals. In that case, they need to plan ahead and have units established that accommodate that. In addition, theories on wellbore orientation often change throughout a horizontal drilling project. In that case, you need "extra space" in all directions to accomodate for a change in lateral direction.  Last year, we established 1200 acre units in the Austin Chalk in North Bayou Jack Field just near you.  I don't know what Anadarko applied for, but I would guess the same. I didn't see their hearing on SONRIS.

Lets cover another topic that rarely appears on this website. Operator economics. Just in LA alone, I would estimate that Anadarko has amassed over 400,000 acres in the Austin Chalk fairway. That doesn't include their large position just across the state line in TX.  Lets assume that they averaged $100/acre for these leases.  That totals $40 million. It doesn't include brokerage costs or other related costs such as their staff and overhead.  Lets assume that they unitized this acreage on a 1200 acre unit size.  That equates to 333 units.  Their current well cost, IF everything goes right, is around $11 million each.  The costs to drill 333 wells totals $3.6 billion.  In some cases, where they have success, they might drill alternate unit wells and increase their well count to 500 for example.  In summary, the operator is RISKING huge sums of capital, so the Office of Conservation will likely side with them for this reason unless they are proposing something outrageous. If you are a landowner within the unit boundary, they will listen to you. Keep in mind that you will need a strong TECHNICAL case to explain why the boundary should change. If you are NOT in the unit boundary and choose to show up to speak for your own personal needs, you won't likely get much traction.


The topic of unitization is always an interesting one.  The inner workings of the Office of Conservation can sometimes be dumbfounding. I've been on the losing side of a hearing before.  In your specific case, yes, Anadarko would not waste money hiring consultants and attorneys to create units that they didn't plan to drill. Remember market dynamics can change. Oil might sell for $50/bbl when they are ready to drill which severely alters the project's economics.  Unit creation is a good sign that they plan to drill within those boundaries.  Timing is the big question.  Anadarko has, to date, methodically and slowly drilled their way across the eastern counties of TX.  Keep in mind that these wells are not easy to drill and don't drill quickly.  The completion can be as time consuming.  Just last year, they drilled their first two Austin Chalk wells right inside the LA borders. They have just permitted their 3rd well just near to the two others.  When an operator has a massive acreage block, lease expiration dates will usually drive which units get drilled first.  Also keep in mind that these large acreage plays provide the operator the opportunity to choose which ones to drill next.  Friendly landowners are always a plus.  In historical trends like this one, some landowners obtain a reputation and operators avoid them for leasing and drilling.  When your spending millions and billions of dollars, you want to invest it where you believe that you'll have the most success.  Subsurface and surface issues come into play.


That's my longwinded answer. If you have some specific details that you'd like to discuss, you can email me at

Good luck!!!


According to Pryme's info on their website they are planning 30+ wells on 640 acre spacing. Anadarko is planning a single unit of 1440 acres in the same area. I don't understand why we have three different figures here. Pryme says one thing, you say another and Anadarko is applying for another much larger size unit. Hasn't the 640 acre unit size been established as standard in the Haynesville. And all of those wells are horizonal.


Here's the link to the Office of Conservation Unit Hearing schedule. You can click the link and read each application.


I forgot to provide this link to our map showing the recent drilling activity.

Thanks Kirk.  Good information and I certainly appreciate the time you took to offer the detail. 

The proposed unit is 1440 acres, and it is indeed my understanding that the long laterals that are being proposed will not fit in a 640 acre unit.  it is also my understanding that several wells are being planned for this proposed unit, and if successful then more.  Obviously, as a landowner with property within the proposed tract, I am for them moving forward.  Getting something is better than nothing.  And by saying this, I certainly mean no offense to you Mr. Aldridge.  This is a huge benefit to many people who have waited a long time for this day to possibly come.  My parents leased this property out probably 20 years ago, and as has been mentioned in previous posts, nothing ever came from it.  We are excited to see serious interest.


Here's the plat from the unit order from Sept-2010. Rumor this morning is that Anadarko is going to request 1900 acre units in this area.


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