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Tuscaloosa Marine Shale: Finally the Next Bakken? Part II

So what will it take for the economics in the TMS to rival the major US producing basins such as the Bakken and Eagle Ford?  In a $100+/bbl WTI world, the market is a big tent, welcoming even marginal plays to grow.  However, given the oversupply scenarios quickly approaching as light oil grows faster than new demand to take it, domestic oil prices are expected to fall dramatically unless changes are made to the crude oil export ban.

So if producers can produce repeatable results in the TMS that match the recent 24 hour rates, and lower well costs through development drilling, can the TMS flourish in an $80/bbl oil price environment?  The chart below shows well economics under various oil price scenarios assuming both the current average well performance and well costs as well as an optimistic case ($10 MM well costs and IP rates of 1400 Boe/d).

The optimistic case (590 Mboe EUR) competes well with the Bakken and Eagle Ford.  However, current average results (380 Mboe EUR) are a long way from that case.


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Kathryn Downey Miller is President of BTU Analytics where she leads the firm’s consulting and analytics groups in delivering market advisory services to clients across all sectors of the industry. Additionally, Kathryn oversees strategic planning, financial budgeting and analyst development for the company. Prior to founding BTU Analytics, Kathryn built market expertise in a diverse set of prior industry roles, including buyside investment research at an energy focused hedge fund, energy market fundamentals consulting at Bentek Energy, investor relations strategy consulting for E&P companies and investment banking at Citigroup. She speaks frequently at industry events on North American energy markets and is a CFA charterholder.

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