Eaglebine is ‘the next thing’ for drilling companies

Is the Eagle Ford moving to the east?

Most of the Eagle Ford Shale activity has been concentrated in a cluster of South Texas counties, particularly crude-oil-rich Gonzales, Karnes, DeWitt, La Salle and McMullen, with companies focused on drilling those highly profitable areas as quickly as possible.

But oil and gas companies have also leased acreage and started drilling wells on the eastern edge of the trend closer to Austin and Houston where the Eagle Ford Shale meets the Woodbine Sandstone.

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The so-called “Eaglebine” is generally described as anything located below the Austin Chalk and above the Buda Limestone, said Thomas Bowman, vice president of evaluation geology and geophysics with the Houston-based ZaZa Energy Corp. Bowman spoke Wednesday at a technology workshop for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists at the Hotel Contessa.

“We have been drilling wells and other people have as well,” Bowman said. “It is the extension (of the Eagle Ford Shale). It is the next thing.”

The Eaglebine includes both the Eagle Ford Shale and the Woodbine Sandstone, the reservoir famously drilled in the 1930s during the discovery of the giant East Texas Field.

Activity appears to be concentrated primarily in Brazos, Madison, Walker and Grimes counties.

But Bowman said operators, which include ZaZa Energy, Crimson Energy, Encana Corp., Halcón Resources and EOG Resources, so far are keeping well results mostly quiet, with development in the early stages.

“This is everything you want except for six months of production,” Bowman said.

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During an earnings call last year with analysts, executives with EOG Resources, the largest operator in the Eagle Ford, said it was “testing some concepts over there” in the Eaglebine, but wasn’t ready to talk publicly about its acreage in Madison County.

“But we’ve really not thought much about that, and are not really prepared to talk much about that kind of play at this point,” EOG President William Thomas said.

Halcón Resources, in its fourth-quarter report, said it has approximately 235,000 acres across East Texas where it will target the Woodbine, Eagle Ford and other formations. It has nine wells in the field so far, but plans to operate five to seven drilling rigs and spend approximately $490 million on drilling and completions this year.

The company said it would focus on Leon, northern Madison and Brazos counties in 2013, but is also evaluating data for acreage in Grimes and Walker counties, and plans a horizontal Woodbine well in Polk County in the second quarter.

In a presentation this month, the Canadian Encana Corp. said it holds 124,000 acres in the Eaglebine and has drilled and completed 12 wells so far. It plans to run one rig in the region this year.

Bowman said he could not talk about ZaZa’s activity specifically, but that the company has an earnings call next week. The company has almost 90,000 acres in the Eaglebine.

Bowman said the Eaglebine appears to have “great source rocks,” although not as rich as in the East Texas Basin in East Texas, or in the Maverick Basin in South Texas. But the Eaglebine is close to the Houston Ship Channel and refineries, and Bowman said additional potential targets below it include the Buda, Georgetown, Edwards and Glen Rose limestones.