Jeff A. Spencer
1675 Piney Creek Rd., Bellville, Texas 77418
The 40th Anniversary of South Louisiana’s Lower Tuscaloosa Trend—Recollections and Early Media Coverage
Onshore Gulf of Mexico Exploration II (GRBCC, General Assembly Area B)
Tuesday, September 22, 2015, 3:45 pm
On May 31, 1975, 15 miles northwest of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Chevron No. 1 Alma Plantation well was completed as the discovery well for the False River Field. Completed from perforations at 19,836–19,916 feet with a rate of 20 million cubic feet of gas per day (MMCFGD) and 80 barrels of condensate per day (BCPD), the well opened the prolific South Louisiana Lower Tuscaloosa Trend. Seven months later, the completion of the Chevron No. 1 State Lease 6646 well in Lake Borgne, 110 miles southeast of False River, suggested a significant new gas trend for the Gulf Coast. Initial optimism placed the trend’s dimensions as 30 miles wide and 200 miles long, extending from the Texas/Louisiana state line eastward through Lake Pontchartrain.
Recollections from geoscientists, engineers, landmen, and landowners who worked the trend in the early years provide an oral history of the excitement, rapid development, well control events, and technical understanding of the trend. The trend’s early development was covered in many local and national newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and New York Times; magazines, including Time, Forbes, Ebony, Louisiana Life, Christian Science Monitor), and trade journals. Several papers were presented at Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies (GCAGS) annual meetings, GCAGS member society luncheons, and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) annual meetings.
Early resource predictions for the trend varied greatly from 3 to 60 trillion cubic feet of gas equivalent (TCFGE). As more wells were drilled, the original size of the trend was reduced significantly, along with the resource size. A “sweet spot” centered in Pointe Coupee, Livingston, West Baton Rouge, and East Baton Rouge parishes has produced approximately 4 TCFGE, which is still a significant and impressive trend for the Gulf Coast. Three fields (Port Hudson, 1356 billion cubic feet of gas equivalent [BCFGE]; Judge Digby, 759 BCFGE; and Morganza, 559 BCFGE) account for 67% of the trend’s production.