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Next on the US Shale Scene? Try Tuscaloosa

It’s not a household name yet—and it’s a bit of a mouthful—but the 2.7 million-acre Tuscaloosa Marine Shale (TMS) in Southeast Louisiana and Southwest Mississippi is shaping up to be another prime play to add to the US unconventional roster, even though it’s still early days.

We still don’t know what the potential is here, so uncertainty is high, but E&P companies are betting on some big finds, estimating that we’re looking at a “Texas-size” pay-out.

They might be right. After all, the TMS is close to the Gulf of Mexico and has geological similarities to Eagle Ford in south Texas. Geologists think there could be a continuous oil and gas shale that runs all the way from Eagle Ford to the TMS, and that’s what all the drilling is banking on.

The TMS is a sedimentary rock formation that consist of organic-rich fine-grained sediments deposited in a marine environment that existed across the Gulf Coast region approximately 90 million years ago. The TMS includes the Eagle Ford Shale, being similar in geological age.

For now all we’ve got to go on is some dated, pre-fracking surveys that estimate the TMS could contain 7 billion bbl of recoverable oil from shale that is from 500-800 feet thick and at a depth range of 11,000-15,000 feet, extending for 3.8 million acres across both states. It was only about 3 years ago that the first horizontal wells were drilled, so we still don’t…

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