Monday, June 15, 2009

Mid-Bossier: The Stacked Play

The Mid-Bossier Play is starting to creep into the news. This is the formation immediately above the Haynesville Shale but below the Cotton Valley and neighboring formations. There has been little discussion about it because the Haynesville Shale has sucked up most of the oxygen in the room. After the frenzy of drilling Haynesville wells for the next few years, you are going to start hearing more about the Mid-Bossier.

Mid-Bossier is not to be confused with Deep Bossier, which is more or less the same thing as the Haynesville Shale as the trend moves west in Texas. The Mid-Bossier Play is in the strata directly above the Haynesville formations. The Haynesville Shale gets all the attention, especially in Louisiana, because leases state that you can only hold the minerals in a lease 100' to 300' (depending on the lease) below the deepest productive penetration. That way, producers can drill Haynesville wells and hold the land by production (HBP) until they later drill Mid-Bossier wells.

The juxtaposition of the two formations creates what is known as a "stacked play." The two images from GMX Resources give some graphic representation of the play:

EnCana seems to be doing most of the talking about the Mid-Bossier Play. It was discussed in a recent conference call, and Jeff Wojahn, President of EnCana's U.S. division, was recently quoted saying about Mid-Bossier, "The thickness and aerial extent are similar to the Haynesville, and we think the gas in place could rival - or is right there with - Haynesville." Thems strong words!

EnCana is not the first company to reference the Mid-Bossier, but they seem to be taking a Chesapeake-like leadership stance on discussing it. There are not too many data points on the Mid-Bossier Play, but every Haynesville penetration (in the right area) goes through the Mid-Bossier. Until geologists know more, it is premature to call the play a big winner.

EnCana has drilled a vertical well to the Mid-Bossier (Colbert #1H in Martin Field, Red River Parish, LA) and is planning another three to four this year. The Mid-Bossier might also have played into EnCana's recent decision to trim the amount of acreage for disposal in the southern part of its leasehold. Also playing in Mid-Bossier are Cabot (Trawick and Minden Fields, TX), Goodrich (Surprise Prospect in Nacogdoches Co., TX) and Petrohawk (Shelby Co., TX).

Petrohawk, for one, is not getting too excited about the Mid-Bossier Play in public and has said that the Mid-Bossier may not be as large as the Haynesville Shale. A spokesperson said, "it's not present where we do most of our drilling," and Petrohawk leases about 300,000 acres.

Clearly it's too early to get lathered up about the Mid-Bossier Play, but its presence could imply an even larger supply of gas in the Haynesville leases and greater longevity for the industry in the region.

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