This New Oil Play Still Looks Good

Earlier this week, Goodrich Petroleum (NYSE: GDP  ) announced solid well results in the Mississippi portion of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale. The company's C.H. Lewis 30-19H-1 well achieved a peak 24-hour average production rate of 1,450 barrels of oil equivalent, or BOE. It really was an oil-rich well, as 1,387 barrels of that production was oil, or more than 95%. It was actually one of the best wells that Goodrich Petroleum or its main competitors in the play, Encana (NYSE: ECA  ) or Halcon Resources (NYSE: HK  ) , have drilled to date, as the following slide indicates.

Source: Goodrich Petroleum Investor Presentation (link opens a PDF).

Drilling down into the results
As that slide notes, the C.H. Lewis well was drilled in close proximity to Goodrich Petroleum's Smith 5-29H #1 well, which delivered a peak 24-hour production rate of 1,045 BOE, as well as Encana's Anderson well pad, which had rates as high as 1,540 BOE to as low as 915 BOE. Needless to say, this is a pretty solid result, which bodes well for the company's acreage position in Mississippi.

The result also suggests strong oil-rich growth potential for Encana, which also has a strong acreage position in the Mississippi portion of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, as detailed on the following slide.

Source: Encana Investor Presentation (link opens a PDF).

Encana sees this oil play having massive upside potential thanks to the nearly 8 billion barrels of oil, gas, and liquids saturating the rocks underneath Mississippi and Louisiana. Because of this, the company sees the potential for the play to produce more than 50,000 barrels of oil per day in the future, when it enters full development mode. This should yield fairly profitable returns as Encana sees 40%-50% rates of return once the company enters full development mode.

Still waiting on Halcon Resources
It's returns like these that drew Halcon Resources to the play. The company, which is in the process of drilling its first few wells, has amassed a very large acreage position, as the following slide notes.

Source: Halcon Resources Investor Presentation (link opens a PDF).

While Halcon Resources' acreage position isn't all that close to Goodrich Petroleum's most recent well results, the company's acreage does appear to be within the oil producing zones. As that slide noted, both Goodrich Petroleum and Encana have drilled oil wells in and around Halcon Resources' acreage.

Investor takeaway
That being said, Encana, Goodrich Petroleum, and Halcon Resources are still appraising the play. Wells can cost upwards of $14 million apiece because of the depths needing to be drilled. Moreover, there are plenty of areas that still need to be tested, so the opportunity might not be as large as the acreage positions these companies possess. That's why investors in each company need to keep an eye on future well results to make sure these companies don't start drilling dry holes. However, so far, the results from this new oil play still look good. 

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