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Recent Activity in the Floyd, Previous HitNealNext Hit, and Chattanooga Shale Plays, Black Warrior Basin, Alabama and Mississippi

Kent A. Bowker
Bowker Petroleum, LLC, The Woodlands, TX

Several operators are currently active in the Black Warrior basin in an effort to establish commercial production in the Floyd (term used in Alabama), Previous HitNealNext Hit (Mississippi), and Chattanooga shales. At least 23 vertical and four horizontal wells have been drilled with the primary target being one or more of these formations since Denbury made the first completion attempt in the Previous HitNealNext Hit Shale in 2002. There has been no economic production established to date, but all of the geologic factors believed necessary for an economic venture are present in the Floyd, Previous HitNealNext Hit, and Chattanooga shales in at least a portion of the Black Warrior basin.

The Mississippian Previous HitNealNext Hit and Floyd shales are nearly stratigraphic equivalent, and both formations incorporate the same black-shale facies which is the target of much of the recent drilling in the basin. The black shale of the Previous HitNealNext Hit and Floyd was deposited at the same time and in nearly the same environment as the Fayetteville (Arkoma basin) and Barnett (Fort Worth basin) shales. There are facies changes within the Floyd/Previous HitNealTop that need to be understood in order to be successful in the play. Gas content, thermal maturity and mineralogy of the shale in portions of the basin appear more than sufficient to support an economic drilling program.

The Devonian Chattanooga Shale is equivalent to the productive Woodford Shale of the Arkoma basin. The Chattanooga appears to be too thin in much of the basin to be prospective; however, in the areas where it is over 50-ft thick, the Chattanooga should be an excellent exploration target.


AAPG Search and Discover Article #90078©2008 AAPG Annual Convention, San Antonio, Texas