--> Recent Activity in the Floyd, Neal, and Chattanooga Shale Plays, Black Warrior Basin, Alabama and Mississippi By Kent A. Bowker Search and Discovery Article #10162 (2008)

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Recent Activity in the Floyd, Neal, and Chattanooga Shale Plays, Black Warrior Basin, Alabama and Mississippi*


Kent A. Bowker1


Search and Discovery Article #10162 (2008)
Posted October 31, 2008

*Adapted from oral presentation at AAPG Annual Convention, San Antonio, TX, April 20-23, 2008

1Bowker Petroleum, LLC, The Woodlands, TX. ([email protected])




Several operators are currently active in the Black Warrior basin in an effort to establish commercial production in the Floyd (term used in Alabama), Neal (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 Neal 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, Neal, and Chattanooga shales in at least a portion of the Black Warrior basin. The Mississippian Neal 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 Neal 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/Neal 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.




















Selected Figures

Basins of the Ouachita Fold Belt.

Stratigraphic column in the Black Warrior Basin.

Floyd Shale: approximate acreage positions.

Floyd Shale: drilling activity.

Representative log in the Floyd Shale (Murphy Smith #1, Pickens County).



·         No commercial production to date.

·         Many operators in play, with no company clearly taking the lead in developing the Floyd.

·         Denbury, David Arrington, Murphy, Noble, Bankers Petroleum, W&B, Marlin, Cabot, Carrizo, Lario, Resolute, Anadarko, and others have staked and drilled wells and/or have acreage in the play.

·         Primary reason play is not working to date: concentrated and sustained effort within the correct region by one organization to develop the proper technique to exploit the Floyd Shale.