The Austin Chalk….Could Central Louisiana be on the verge of an oil and gas boom?
The Louisiana Mineral and Energy board announced a possible resurgence in the Austin Chalk Play in Central Louisiana. The Austin Chalk Formation is a 650-mile long “river of oil and natural gas-bearing chalk stretching from Texas’ border in Mexico, across the center of Louisiana and into Mississippi.
In recent months, there have been leases signed in several central Louisiana Parishes, including Rapides, Vernon, Avoyelles, Evangeline and St. Landry. These companies are testing the geology and production rates of old fields with new technology and Central Louisiana is hoping that the Austin Chalk resurgence could revive its economy.
“Anytime you mention the Austin Chalk, the committee room lights up,” the Chairman of the House Natural Resources and Environmental Committee, State Representative Stuart Bishop of Lafayette, said in an April article by Gifford Briggs, President of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association.
Briggs continued to say that “the chatter about the Austin Chalk really started when EOG made headlines for leasing more than 130,000 acres…just months after Lafayette based PetroQuest acquired 24,000 acres.” ConocoPhillips also recently announced their plans to sell Texas assets and invest in more than 245,000 acres in the Austin Chalk.
Could the next “black gold” rush be in Central Louisiana? Perhaps. The Austin Chalk has yet to be proven, but major energy companies have already pumped significant money into Central Louisiana through payment of lease bonuses to mineral owners. These bonuses have ranged from $300 to well over $500 an acre. Not to mention, there has been an influx of new jobs for our locals and revenue for our restaurants, hotels and merchants from out of town oil company representatives and workers. This economic benefit could expand exponentially for Cenla should drillers be successful.
Drill, baby, drill.