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Wilcox Re-birth: South Louisiana

Tim Rynott
[email protected]

From the 1940's until the 1980's the Eocene 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 throughout most of the 1980's and all of the 1990's. Nevertheless fracture stimulation duplicated from successful South Texas Wilcox completions, combined with more favorable oil pricing caused southern Louisiana Wilcox activity to re-awaken 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 totals approximately 15 MMBO and 80 BCF. Averaging $5-7MM/well and 250-300 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 South Louisiana drilling programs which will target almost 1000 (combined total) new Wilcox locations. Since 2008, over 1100 square miles of 3D has been or is currently being shot to target Wilcox sands. The onshore Wilcox trend is commonly described as a conventional exploration play with unconventional completion techniques. Conventional 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 #90167©2013 GCAGS and GCSSEPM 63rd Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 6-8, 2013