Louisiana: Brown Dense leasing spreads eastward

By OGJ editors

Leasing spurred by the oil and gas potential of the emerging Jurassic Lower Smackover Brown Dense limestone has spread to East and West Carroll parishes, together with St. Tammany the state’s only parishes without hydrocarbon production.

Mineral rights to more than 6,000 acres of state land were leased in October in south-central East Carroll Parish, among the nation’s poorest, netting more than $1.8 million, said Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Sec. Scott Angelle. Competition pushed lease prices above $300/acre, uncommon in Louisiana outside the Haynesville shale play, Angelle noted.

Private interests have nominated 3,000-plus acres of state water bottoms centering on the southwest quarter of East Carroll and parts of West Carroll and Richland parishes in the state’s northeast corner for bid in the December sale. East Carroll Parish Clerk of Court staff report that private mineral lease transfers have accelerated to a rate unprecedented in recent years.

Operators have drilled 125 wells ever in East Carroll, and the 30-plus wells drilled since 1981 were all dry, Louisiana Office of Conservation records show.

Initial exploration of the Brown Dense began farther west in southern Arkansas and Claiborne and Morehouse parishes, La. (OGJ Online, July 29, 2011). The Morehouse well was the first permitted that parish in 3 years and was quickly followed by two more, including one by ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy. Drilling has started at one of three other wells permitted in Claiborne.

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