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Tuscaloosa Marine Shale: Facies Mapping of Southwest Mississippi

Thomas H. Story
Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute (MMRI) University of Mississippi

The scope of this project is the comprehensive mapping of the higher resistivity zones of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale in Southwest Mississippi, interpreted from well logs obtained from the Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute (MMRI) at the University of Mississippi and the Mississippi Oil and Gas Board. The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale (TMS) has garnered recent attention as a possible seven billion barrel unconventional oil play (John, C. et al, 1998), spurred by successes of the analogous Eagle Ford Shale in Texas. Long known as a source rock for the overlying Upper Tuscaloosa and Wilcox formations, before 2010 exploration was limited to a few wells in southern Louisiana with one producing close to 20,000 barrels over 19 years. With the development of modern horizontal drilling techniques, this formation could prove to be much more lucrative than previously thought. Several operators are currently attempting to capitalize on this play in southwestern Mississippi, particularly in Wilkinson, Amite, and Pike Counties. The focus for exploration in these counties is a zone of relatively high resistivity (>6 Ohmmeter) in the basal section of the TMS. Analysis of the structure, thickness, and log facies of this formation improves understanding of the geology that controls this potentially productive zone.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90182©2013 AAPG/SEG Student Expo, Houston, Texas, September 16-17, 2013