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Going deeper.

We heard last week that natural gas explorers at the Fayetteville Shale Play had discovered "a new layer" of the play, adding several years of productive life to the exploration in north-central Arkansas.

One phone call squelched that rumor; but a conversation with the head of the largest company drilling there also brought news that likely started the talk.

John Thaeler, senior vice president at Seeco Inc., a subsidiary of Southwestern Energy of Houston, said that the gossip about a "new layer" probably referred to the Moorefield Shale, a formation with similar reservoir characteristics to the Fayetteville Shale and in the same general area, only deeper.

Seeco has been testing the Moorefield with limited horizontal and vertical and other types of wells, Thaeler said.

"It's quite possible that could be a lucrative option, but at this point we're still sort of testing the waters," Thaeler said. "We'll still be going in with five or six more wells to get a better idea of what we're dealing with this year."

The Moorefield play is a much smaller investment for Southwestern Energy. The company has mineral rights to about 950,000 acres in the Fayetteville play and currently about 130,000 acres of Moorefield.

And deeper yet, says Bekki White, director at the Arkansas Geological Commission, is the Chattanooga Shale, which also holds promise for one day extracting compacted natural gas.
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Title Annotation:Whispers
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Jul 23, 2007
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