Oil/gas drillers in south Avoyelles explain testing process
It will be several months from now, but seismic testing will be conducted in a 270 square mile corner of southwestern Avoyelles, north St. Landry and east Evangeline parishes searching for oil and gas reserves in the deep Austin Chalk trend. The testing expands the area of the initial positive results of a the first well drilled by the company in Goudeau.
There will be no testing within the Bunkie city limits, 25-30 residents were told at a community meeting on the issue, held Oct. 23 in Bunkie City Hall Annex.
Dawson Geophysical, EOG Resources and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries conducted the informational meeting. The area of the tests is generally described as being east and west of U.S. Hwy 71, east of I-49, east and west of La. Hwy 10 and on the east and west side of the levee between Bunkie and Lebeau.
Seismic survey field operations were to have begun this past Thursday (Oct. 26) and be finished by July 2018. The actual tests will take about two months to complete.
That schedule is based on the company receiving all necessary regulatory permits in a timely manner. Residents had questions about the work to be done in the area due to the possibility of oil and gas there. EOG Resources Inc. has hired Dawson Geophysical to conduct the seismic testing.
Within the next few weeks, Dawson Geophysical will be seeking permission from land owners to conduct the seismic testing, Dawson representatives Patrick Reese and George Pate said.
EOG representative Ariel Hart said surface permits, mineral permits and a permit from the Army Corp of Engineers have to be obtained before testing begins.
Residents were positive during the meeting which Pate said is “good news.” “We want to be the good guys and answer all questions about the seismic testing.”
Hart said it could be three to six months before the testing begins.
“Once we conduct the test, we will be able to determine fairly quickly if there is oil and gas and and how we want to proceed. Once the results are received it will take about a month for a final report.” Seismic tests are no longer run using cables on the ground that passed through yards, fields and roads, Reese said.
The modern method involves workers following a grid map. About every 220 feet a device with four conductors will be placed on the ground. An 80-100-foot hole will be drilled into the ground. Once the hole is drilled, a 5-pound explosive charge will be placed in the hole and detonated.
“It will be heard from a distance, and if you live within 500 to 600 feet you will feel it,” Pate said. “We want the people to expect and understand what is going to happen.”
The detonation will send seismic waves deep underground and bounce back to the machines on the ground.
“The penetration of the waves will depend on the ground and soil conditions,” Reese said. “We will have about 60 employees do the testing.”
WELL IN GOUDEAU
Hart, who lives in Fort Worth, said the Eagle Ranch well in Goudeau used past seismic tests to drill the well.
The well has reported its first production numbers, giving oil industry observers cause for optimism concerning the once-lucrative Austin Chalk formation.
The initial numbers from the first Louisiana well in the Austin Chalk layer showed 1,120 barrels of oil and 1.16 million cubic feet of natural gas in a 24-hour period. It also produced 2,947 barrels of water during that period.
“I cannot comment on the well we have in Goudeau,” Hart said. “However, once this seismic testing is completed and the final report given, the company will make a decision on their future plans.”