Dallas-based exploration and production company Aresco LP has acquired “a substantial working interest” in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale (TMS) in Louisiana and Mississippi.

The company said a four-well drilling program targeting the lower TMS “A” Sand would begin early this month. Aresco’s newly acquired acreage covers 11 prospect areas containing up to 47 drilling locations across 20,000 acres in Louisiana and Mississippi. The seller was not disclosed.

All four wells are planned to be drilled, completed and on production by the middle of the second quarter. The four prospective wells are positioned on-trend and are surrounded by 10 Lower TMS productive fields. The cumulative recovery for these fields has totaled 114 Bcf of gas and 18.3 million bbl of oil since their earliest discovery in 1981, Aresco said.

“With the current oil and gas price downturn, we have been able to step up as an alternate funding source to help support continued development,” said Brandon Laxton, president of Aresco LP and Aresco Operating Co. “This has allowed us the opportunity to offer premium drilling positions and attractive return potential to our team of private capital partners.”

Aresco’s four-well program follows a “successful” Massive Tuscaloosa Sands project in West Baton Rouge Parish, LA. “Located just south of Aresco’s newly acquired acreage, the project’s flow test results, as well as its reserve analysis, have greatly exceeded estimates outlined prior to moving into the project earlier this year,” the company said.

Aresco is also active in conventional and unconventional oil plays throughout Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

Meanwhile, TMS pioneer Goodrich Petroleum Corp. is struggling in the low commodity price environment. It recently suspended some dividend payments. Goodrich shares have been threatened with delisting from the New York Stock Exchange; however, the exchange has accepted the company’s plan to continue its listing (see Shale Daily, Dec. 1).

During a third quarter earnings conference call in early November, Goodrich COO Robert Turnham said the company has more than 300,000 acres in the TMS. “…[W]e continue to be enthused and convinced of the play and look forward to restarting development once oil prices recover with a sufficient price,” he said. “We and our peers have established a core area where wells are very consistent…”

Goodrich was not the seller in the Aresco transaction, Turnham said.