Wilcox Rebirth: South Louisiana
Rynott, Tim; Griffin, Justin; Forstner, Stephanie
From the 1940's until the 1980's the Eocene-aged Wilcox formation of southern Louisiana was an active exploration oil and gas play, producing over 175 MMBO and 1.13 TCF during that time period. However, insufficient porosities in the Middle/Lower Wilcox and difficult technical evaluations combined with poor commodity prices virtually eliminated the Wilcox as an exploration target through most of the 1980's and all of the 1990's. Following successful fracture stimulation in southern Texas combined with more favorable oil pricing, southern Louisiana Wilcox activity began to rise in the early 2000's.
Since 2003, over 100 wells have been drilled in southern Louisiana for the Wilcox formation with a completion rate greater than 90%. Cumulative production to date of the completed wells totals approximately 15 MMBO and 80 BCF. Averaging $7MM/well, and 250-350 MBOE/well (70-90% liquids), this re-emerging play has favorable economics at current commodity prices.
The two most active operators in the play, Midstates Petroleum and EP Energy (formerly El Paso Corporation), have publically announced ambitious drilling programs which will target almost 1000 (combined total) new Wilcox locations, predominantly in southwest and south central Louisiana.
Since 2008, over 1100 miles of 3-D has been or is currently being shot to target Wilcox sands. Generally speaking, the Wilcox trend is described as conventional exploration play with unconventional completion techniques. Old school exploration methods, combined with modern seismic, new evaluation tools, and state of the art completion practices contribute to a profitable and low risk exploration program in a very mature Provence.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90163©2013AAPG 2013 Annual Convention and Exhibition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 19-22, 2013