Goodrich Petroleum Corp. has purchased leases totaling about 74,000 net acres in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale (TMS) oil trend in Louisiana and Mississippi for an average $175 per net acre, the Houston-based company said Monday.

Goodrich anticipates development to begin in early 2012.

Goodrich last year trimmed its capital expenditure budget to $225 million for 2011, a $30 million reduction from 2010 spending (see Shale Daily, Dec. 15, 2010). $22 million of that budget was targeted to miscellaneous expenses, including leasehold acquisitions and infrastructure.The company paid about $13 million for the TMS acquisition.

The TMS -- which stretches from Texas through Louisiana and into Mississippi -- has been drawing increasing interest from shale players, thanks to high oil prices, low natural gas prices and the success experienced in the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas, particularly in that play's oil window (see Shale Daily, Feb. 28).

Last month Devon Energy Corp. said it had leased 250,000 net acres in the TMS for a cost of around $180/acre and BP plc and others have lease TMS acreage for years (see Shale Daily, May 5). Devon plans to drill two horizontal wells on its acreage this year.

Geologists believe the TMS may to contain up to 7 billion bbl of oil and up to 3.5 Tcfe. The play covers 2.7 million acres in Amite, Pike and Wilkinson counties in Mississippi; and Avoyelles, Concordia, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Livingston, St. Helena, Tangipahoa, Washington and West Feliciana parishes in Louisiana.