I've been meaning to catch up on some North American shale developments, but they've been coming so fast that it's hard to know how to keep up. This is a quick tour of developing shales now at various stages under the radar. Some, but not all, of these are at the same stage of development that the Bakken or Eagle Ford were three years to 18 months ago. In no particular order:

As the Marcellus spills over into neighbouring shale and states, the Bakken is heading South

 Recently, Bedrock Oil and Gas of Texas bid more than $500,000 at a state auction to lease nearly 67,000 acres for oil and gas exploration in Harding and Butte counties, which Johnson said could be the “next big thing” if the company finds oil.

The prospects of the North Dakota oil boom moving south is the topic of a Feb. 2 panel discussion in Belle Fourche hosted by the Belle Fourche Chamber of Commerce. South Dakota and area elected officials, business representatives and the public are being invited to discuss strategies to deal with the oil boom as it expands southward.


  Talk of a "mini Bakken" beneath this windswept plain has the 350 people of Jordan talking big.

"My daughter thinks we're going to be the next Williston," said Janet Sherer. "I hope not. I'm not ready for that."

Williston, the western North Dakota community at the heart of the Bakken oil boom has become the town to which everyone points when discussing a potential central Montana oil play.

 and North.

 The December sale of Crown petroleum and natural gas rights in the province were down in December for the southwest region, although activity continues on a high pace in the Shaunavon area. 

Land sales brought in $20.8 million in revenue for the province, capping another solid year of land sales although the numbers took a dip for the month in this corner of the province.
The Swift Current area, which includes Shaunavon, saw a total of $1.5 million in land sales. Exactly one year earlier, however, the Swift Current area led the way with $25.2 million in land sales as the province enjoyed a record setting month in December of 2010.

Meanwhile, indications that as if one Eagle Ford isn't enough, how about another to the North East

 A newly drilled well in northwest Rapides Parish that's producing hundreds of barrels of oil and liquid natural gas a day could be the first of many in Louisiana's central parish that uses horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

 The well -- named Bentley Lumber 34H #1 and operated by Indigo Minerals -- bores thousands of feet down in land owned by third-generation forester Roy O. Martin III and his family, who own hundreds of thousands acres of Louisiana forestland. Most of the Martin land is pristine timber acreage, which supplies the family's many wood-products businesses.

But about two miles under much of that land, trapped in dense shale rock, rests rich deposits of oil and other fuels that America runs on. A swath of oil-rich land, which cuts across Central Louisiana, through some of Mississippi and includes fields north of Baton Rouge, is called the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale...a continuation of the oil- and natural gas rich Texas Eagle Ford to the southwest.

Naturalamente, let's not forget the Eagle Ford don't need no stinking badges to cross the border:

  Petroleos Mexicanos plans to drill 175 shale-gas wells in the next two to four years, said Carlos Morales, the head of exploration and production of the company, at an event in Mexico City.

Pemex, as the Mexico City-based state oil company is known, has begun test wells in the Salinas-Burgos-Picachos basin, which is an extension of the Eagle Ford formation in the U.S. and has the most promise for producing shale gas, Morales said. The test wells Pemex has drilled so far are showing good results, he said.

 In less exotic climes, South East Illinois is still looking perky:

A local environmental group is raising concerns about a controversial method of natural gas extraction that will be coming to Saline County in the next year.

Colorado-based Next Energy plans to search for oil and natural gas in Southern Illinois starting next fall. One of the methods the company plans to employ is called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

 And there is plenty of gas and oil left in Texas. One would think that after a hundred years, surely every drop of the black stuff must have been known for years. Let's take for only one example, the Permian Basin, which has so many shales it's hard to count: Wolfberry, Bone Spring, Spraberry, Lenard, Avalon. Sitting in the middle is the reason George Bush Senior moved to Texas, Midland, home to the Permian Basin Museum. But don't be fooled, there's not only the past, but a future:

 Schneider said he is excited about the level of activity in the Permian Basin and during a recent trip to Midland was happy to see the number of drilling rigs in the area. "We have a role in hydraulic fracturing," he pointed out. "We will have a a role in the future as the industry tries to be more environmentally friendly," and the company is always looking for new applications. In fact, he said, the Permian Basin is home to some cutting edge research right now.

There are, he said, "a lot of people who think the domestic industry is dead," he observed. "There's a lot of oil yet to find. The ground is a deep place and we don't know for sure what's down there."

Ask even most Americans and oil is in Texas or Louisiana or Oklahoma and of course Alaska. But because it's been there for a hundred years, the equally massive California oil industry has been overlooked. Which means guess what?

 Australian explorers appear to have a gas-condensate discovery after having tested the first two of eight potential hydrocarbon pay zones in California’s San Joaquin basin.

Neon Energy Ltd., Perth, and Solimar Energy Ltd., Melbourne, have run two production tests on the Fruitvale shale and Lower Stevens sandstone at the Paloma Deep Sidetrack-2 wellbore.

The well went to a total depth of 13,320 ft, 310 ft into the Fruitvale shale on the west side of giant Paloma oil and gas field in Kern County (OGJ Online, Nov. 30, 2011).

Few visitors to Los Angeles are aware of the history and present production of oil in conventional onshore basins throughout LA. With B list celebs lining up in upstate New York against shale, imagine the fracking mess in California.  


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  • Andy

    There's a story [url=http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jan/29/local/la-me-oil-20120129]here[/url] about Jerry Brown's recent firing of regulators who were impeding the drilling permit process in California. While this is not the only way you can analyze this story, I think one moral is if Governor Moonbeam thinks you are being too hard on the oil industry--you're being too hard on the oil industry!

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