Southern Energy Conference takes on politics, Austin Chalk

Southern Energy Conference

Showing their strength in numbers, the combined memberships of Louisiana’s two oil & gas associations jointly presented the inaugural Southern Energy Conference last week in Lafayette.

More than 300 attended the event—including a diverse mix of upstream, midstream and downstream owners, service companies and suppliers from the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association and Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association.

Politics was a central theme throughout the conference, given the impending statewide elections. Discussions about shale plays, offshore developments, state and federal policies and diversity in hiring practices were also on the agenda, highlighted by a gubernatorial forum with candidates Ralph Abraham, Omar Dantzler and Eddie Rispone.

Southern Energy Conference
(Photography by Sam Barnes) Tyler Gray of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association and Gifford Briggs of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association at the Southern Energy Conference

During a morning panel, LOGA President Gifford Briggs and LMOGA President Tyler Gray urged their memberships to change the legislative landscape by taking advantage of the “massive turnover” expected in the Louisiana Senate.

“We can’t tell people who to vote for,” Briggs says. “We’re just saying on Oct. 12, make sure you vote. We believe that when the energy industry’s voices are heard that Louisiana is going to move in a good direction. It’s going to create jobs and opportunities for investment. If the energy industry stays home, we’re going to continue to move in a direction that disincentivizes investments and continues to ship our jobs over to Texas and everywhere else.”

In another session, Nicole Baird, development and production manager for Equinor, and Bob Manthei, regulatory affairs manager for XTO Energy, both in Houston, updated attendees on their findings in the Haynesville and Austin Chalk inshore plays.

“We’ve tested the Austin Chalk and seen some promising results,” Baird says. In September 2018, Equinor leased 60,000 acres in Vernon and Beauregard parishes and is currently performing a 3D seismic survey of the play. “Once we get the seismic data at the end of the year, we’ll interpret it and plan and execute two exploration/appraisal wells, most likely in the beginning of 2020, depending on the conclusion of our seismic operations.

“Can we drill horizontal wells, do the completions and actually increase the productivity of the reservoir? That’s what we’re trying to determine.”

Other conference panels focused on the legal environment, Gulf of Mexico outlook and the proliferation of liquefied natural gas export facilities. LMOGA’s Gray says the jointly-sponsored conference was a long-time coming and will undoubtedly bring the industry together. “The partnership between LMOGA and LOGA highlights the event’s importance,” he adds.