Operator to join Arkoma Fayetteville shale gas play

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, July 20 -- Another operator plans to spud its first well in the Arkoma basin Mississippian Fayetteville shale gas play in September.

Chesapeake Energy Corp., Oklahoma City, said earlier this year that it had acquired 250,000 prospective acres in the Hartshorne coal and the Caney, Woodford, and Fayetteville shale plays in the Arkoma basin (OGJ Online, Feb. 22, 2005).

The company said in June that it has amassed 190,000 acres in the Fayetteville shale play alone and plans to spud its first well in September but has given no location details.

Meanwhile, Panhandle Royalty Co., Oklahoma City, said July 19 that it had leased 9,000 net acres of nonproducing minerals in Arkansas for $2.024 million.

Panhandle Royalty, without naming the buyer, said it is a major independent producer that represented it had acquired more than 200,000 net acres in the Fayetteville play.

Chesapeake declined to confirm or deny that it acquired the interests from Panhandle Royalty, saying it will more fully discuss the Fayetteville play in a conference call on Aug. 5.

Southwestern Energy Co., Houston, held 645,000 net undeveloped acres and controlled another 125,000 net acres held by conventional production in the basin fairway in the play area. It had drilled 48 Fayetteville wells and participated in one outside-operated well in Franklin, Conway, Van Buren, Cleburne, and Faulkner counties (OGJ, July 18, 2005, p. 35).

The minerals Panhandle Royalty leased are in Van Buren, White, Yell, Cleburne, Conway, Faulkner, Johnson, and Pope counties, Arkansas. The term of the lease is 5 years and allows Panhandle Royalty the option to participate with a working interest in some of the larger interest tracts.

Panhandle Royalty said that in the past 12-13 years it has acquired large blocks and individual tracts totaling thousands to tens of thousands of acres in several areas that have since evolved from frontier basins to areas of high exploration interest. The areas include the Ouachita Overthrust in southeastern Oklahoma, and Marathon Overthrust in West Texas, the Tucumcari basin and Permian Basin northwest shelf in New Mexico, and the Williston basin in North Dakota.

"Developing new plays such as the Fayetteville shale and other nontraditional new methods and technologies for drilling and producing oil and gas are factors considered in determining where we have bought minerals in the past and where we are acquiring them today for our participation and-or leasing to others," Panhandle Royalty said.

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