--> Vernon Field – Waking a Sleeping Giant in North Louisiana, by Steve Blanke and Sean Kelly; #90052 (2006)

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Vernon Field – Waking a Sleeping Giant in North Louisiana

Steve Blanke and Sean Kelly
Anadarko Petroleum Corp, The Woodlands, TX

Discovered in 1980, Vernon Field, in Jackson Parish, Louisiana, languished as a small tight-gas field for two decades until its potential as a giant was fully realized just five years ago. This field now contains more than 250 wells and has proven reserves exceeding 1.4 trillion cubic feet. From its discovery until 2000, it was held by at least five different companies, and along each stage of its development, it revealed a bit more of its potential.

Initially, Vernon field was believed to represent a simple stratigraphic pinchout of Lower Cotton Valley sandstones against regional southerly dip. Existing seismic data quality was sparse and of poor quality, and individual pay intervals were not seismically resolvable. However, a limited number of 2-D lines hinted at divergent dips south of the northern sand limit, suggesting the possibility of an expanded stratigraphic section in the Lower Cotton Valley. A more favorable price environment beginning in 2000 resulted in accelerated field development, during which a number of wells were found to have pay intervals partially faulted out. This was used as an economic justification for a large 3-D survey over the field, after which its true structural and stratigraphic relationships became apparent.

More sleeping giants such as Vernon likely exist in this seemingly mature petroleum province. Finding them will require careful analysis of often sparse well and seismic data, the willingness to drill an adequate pilot program to fully assess the resource, and aggressive optimization of drilling and completion practices.