Aurora Oil & Gas Ltd. has begun drilling activities earlier than expected on its recently acquired Eagle Ford Shale acreage, the Australia-based company said Monday.

The JP Heard Bower #19H well was spudded on Friday. Aurora had said operated drilling activity was expected to start early in the third quarter. During the first quarter Aurora bought a 100% operated working interest in 2,700 net acres in South Texas in the liquids-rich area of the Eagle Ford for $117.5 million (seeShale Daily, March 4).

Two adjacent wells are to be drilled from the same surface pad location (JP Heard Bower #19H and #20H) using a batch drilling schedule to further optimize efficiencies. Batch drilling is expected to result in the rig drilling each surface hole section first, before being reconfigured for the deeper build and horizontal sections of the well bore for each well.

The JP Heard Bower #20 would first be drilled vertically through the Eagle Ford formation as a pilot hole to allow a local type well log to be recorded, which would be used for geosteering of the future horizontal wellbores in this area. This well then is to be sidetracked as the JP Heard Bower #20H horizontal Eagle Ford producer.

Aurora plans to use the knowledge gained through participating in 289 wells that have been spudded on this and the adjacent Sugarkane Field to optimize the well and stimulation design, the company said. The two horizontal wells are to be positioned 330-feet apart within the reservoir (40-acre spacing) and then zipper fractured, which involves simultaneous stimulation of two parallel horizontal wells to improve efficiency.

The wells are planned for close to 7,000-foot laterals in the target zone and are anticipated to commence flowback during the third quarter. The same surface well pad would be used for two more drilling locations later in the development schedule, Aurora said. Aurora is planning also to begin drilling operations with a second rig during the third quarter.