Southwestern Energy "discovery" well raises stakes for Columbia County sites drilling into the Lower Smackover Brown Dense

News that Southwestern Energy has declared its Sharp oil and gas well in Union Parish, LA, a “discovery” site is the latest in a series of recent events spurring interest in the Lower Smackover Brown Dense formation.

The news has implications for Columbia County, where Southwestern Energy drilled its first LSBD well north of the Atlanta community. Southwestern has drilled a second well near Walkerville and plans a third six miles east of Emerson. Also, a different contractor is drilling south of the Atlanta community, and yet another also has drilling plans into the LSBD near Taylor.

Steven L. Mueller, chief executive officer of Southwestern Energy, talked about its 12 LSBD wells and the company’s future intentions on Friday during the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Energy Conference.

The Sharp well near Farmerville produced 600 barrels of oil and 1,300 mcf of natural gas at its peak. It has been averaging 500 barrels and 1,500-1,700 mcf for more than 120 days. Sharp was the eighth well drilled in the LSBD by Southwestern Energy, but only its first commercially viable one, Mueller said.

Three other Southwestern wells in the same area are producing oil and gas and one, the BML well, produced at its peak 421 barrels and 3,900 mcf. The Sharp well and two of the other three are vertical wells. The fourth well – the Dean horizontal well – is being completed.

After initially investing more than $10 million in the Roberson well at Atlanta, Southwestern has gotten costs for drilling down to the 11,000-foot level of the LSBD to between $6-7 million per well. The Roberson well produced at its peak 103 barrels and 180 mcf.

Southwestern has leased 500,000 acres for drilling in the LSBD.

“And as we look at 2014, you are going to see us do two things in this. We continue to do step up working in the 500,000 acres and you can see we’ll drill between four wells and six wells, try and understand the whole acreage position, which actually see us also in early 2014 come in and start offsetting that (Sharp) well and start working out of way and kind of a development programs from that well,” Mueller said.

“We’ve already got some economic wells, there (are) going to be more economic wells to drill,” he said.

That’s all very nice for Southwestern Energy and Union Parish, but what about Columbia County?

Southwestern Energy has put a “frack stack” on its McMahen well northwest of the Walkerville community, symbolizing another step in the drilling process. The company hasn’t released any production figures for the well, which was authorized to a depth of 11,330 feet.

There’s also been no word from Will-Drill Operating LLC of Shreveport, which drilled the Billie Ruth Hayes No. 1-30 off County Road 417, southwest of County Roads 28 and 85 south of the Atlanta community.

Southwestern Energy is asking the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission for an integration order for all unleased and non-consenting mineral owners in Section 16, Township 19 South, Range 19 West. The well is the Hagaman Limited Partnership No. 1-16, which has a proposed starting date of January 15. It is located six miles due east of Emerson -- not far in geographic terms from the Roberson and Hayes sites.

TRM Exploration also seeks an integration order for mineral owners in the E/2 of Section 25 and the W/2 of Section 36, Township 19 South, Range 23 West, located south of Taylor, east of U.S. 371.

TRM proposes to re-enter the Woodard-Walker No. 1 in the Keoun Creek Field to a proposed depth of 12,422 in the LSBD.

The Oil and Gas Commission is expected to act on both integration requests at its December 3 meeting.