Eagle Ford key in Petrohawk's transition to oil

Alan Petzet
OGJ Chief Editor-Exploration

HOUSTON, Jan. 12 -- The Eagle Ford shale play in South Texas is Petrohawk Energy Corp.’s key asset to transition away from being focused nearly totally on natural gas.

Liquids production grew from 4% of company output at the end of 2009 to 8% at end-2010, and the goals are 14% at end-2011 and more than 20% in 2012, said chairman and chief executive officer Floyd Wilson.

With 30-40 tcf of gas equivalent of probable reserves in three US shale plays and 2.75 tcfe of proved reserves, Petrohawk plans to increase its proved reserves 35%/year, Wilson said. The three plays are the Haynesville shale, Lower Bossier shale, and Eagle Ford.

In the Haynesville, which Wilson called the “best dry gas field in the US and maybe the world,” Petrohawk is well along in holding its 368,000 net acres. It will run 16 operated rigs through the first half of 2011, after which it will drop seven of those rigs and divert funds to the Eagle Ford.

In the overlying Lower Bossier, in which Petrohawk owns 122,000 net acres, it plans no operated drilling this year but will participate in some nonoperated wells.

Petrohawk has gross operated Haynesville production of 750 MMcfe/d. The company’s resource potential in the Eagle Ford was 356 million bbl of liquids and 10 tcf of gas as of the end of 2009. It plans to update the figures shortly.

Petrohawk plans to boost its 10 Eagle Ford rigs to 12 in the first half of 2011 and 16 in the second half. It has 125 MMcfe/d of net operated production and had 288 bcfe of proved reserves at the end of 2009.

The company is working the Eagle Ford in three areas. It holds 368,000 net acres, same as in the Haynesville.

Its play-opening discovery, Hawkville field in La Salle and McMullen counties, is half dry gas and half liquids. Black Hawk field, mostly in De Witt and southern Gonzalez counties, is a high condensate area. The Red Hawk prospect in Zavala County is a pure oil play.

Petrohawk has 65,000 net acres under lease at Black Hawk. It drills 6,000-ft laterals for $8-8.5 million/well. It is running five rigs and will add two in the current quarter and four more in the third quarter of 2011.

Estimated ultimate recoveries at Black Hawk have fallen mostly in the 500,000-750,000 boe/well range, but the last few wells look like 1 million boe, Wilson said. The company has had consistent completion results at wells 35 miles apart and thinks eventual spacing will settle at 80 acres. Initial potentials averaged 3.2 MMcf of gas, 1,500 b/d of condensate, and 180 b/d of natural gas liquids, and rates decline 75% the first year.

In Hawkville field, which extends 100 miles west to east, Petrohawk targets the northern condensate yield areas and drills gas-prone wells only to maintain leasehold. Liquids yields are 220 bbl/MMcf to several hundred barrels per million south to north, all with additional NGL.

The company has 233,000 net acres at Hawkville, operated with 91.5% working interest. It will run five rigs steady at Hawkville in 2011.

Since discovering Red Hawk at the Mustang Ranch 1H and C-1H wells, Petrohawk is under completion at its third well, Chapparosa Ranch 1H. Eagle Ford crude is at 5,500 ft, and the company holds 70,000 net acres, operated at 90% working interest.

Two more wells are to be drilling in the second quarter of 2011. Petrohawk drills 4,500-ft laterals that target 150-200 million boe for less than $5 million/well.

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