Encana Corp. has about 50 billion bbl of oil in place in its five largest liquids plays, according to Eric Marsh, executive vice president. Earlier this month at Barclays CEO Energy/Power Conference, the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale (TMS) was at the top of his list.

“In the TMS Encana has acquired 355,000 net acres with an estimated 9.4 billion bbl of petroleum in place, primarily oil,” he said. One of the things that make the play a standout is that there is “a significant amount of oil infrastructure” in place to support production. Additionally, the oil is marketed as Louisiana light sweet crude, which sells at a premium over West Texas Intermediate. Sometimes that premium can be as high as $15/bbl, Marsh said.

Encana has drilled and completed five wells in the TMS with lateral lengths ranging from 2,924 to 8,755 feet and hydraulic fracture stages ranging from five to 29. Thirty-day initial production rates have ranged from 340 boe/d up to 1,072 boe/d for the company’s Anderson 18H-1 well, the one with the longest lateral and most frack stages.

“Right now we’re very encouraged with the initial results, and as we get more production history, we’re starting to establish our type curve for this play, and in subsequent quarters we’ll actually release those type curves to you,” Marsh said. “But I would say we’re very pleased with the reservoir performance. As a matter of fact, I’m excited about the reservoir performance.”

Marsh said several of Encana’s peers are actively delineating the play and there are data sharing agreements in place with the companies. Encana plans to drill and complete seven additional wells in the TMS this year, he said.

Encana is learning its own lessons in the TMS, too.

“The thing that we’ve noticed about TMS is we do well when we’re drilling vertically or horizontally, but in that bend we would struggle to really have good hole stability,” Marsh said. To counter the problem, Encana will be drilling with a larger-diameter casing program and will set a drilling liner through the well curve, Marsh said.

“Additional advancements in our completion design and improvements in the overall well cost structure are on the horizon,” he said. “We’re seeing significant improvement in our completion effectiveness. All in all, we think we [will] go from an $18 or $20 million well to $15 million in the short term and eventually we get down to around a $12 million well cost.”

The TMS covers 2.7 million acres in Pike, Amite, Concordia, and Wilkinson counties in Mississippi; and East Feliciana, West Feliciana, East Baton Rouge, Washington, Livingston, Tangipahoa, Avoyelles and St. Helena parishes in Louisiana. The play began drawing interest late in 2010 and early in 2011, and interest has been growing steadily (see Shale Daily, Feb. 28, 2011).

Encana is the largest acreage holder in the TMS, followed by Indigo Minerals II LLC, Devon Energy, EOG Resources, Goodrich Petroleum, Amelia Resources, Denbury Resources, Swift Energy, Exchange E&P, and Justiss Oil (see Shale Daily, June 28).

Encana’s other top liquids plays are the Eaglebine (what producers call the pairing of the Woodbine and Eagle Ford formations in South Texas), the Mississippian Lime in south-central Kansas and north-central Oklahoma, the San Juan Basin, and the Duvernay Shale in Alberta.