Monday, June 13, 2011

Alfred Moore, The TMS Pioneer

Al Moore at the Callon Cutrer #2 (1975)
Alfred C. Moore, a Mississippi wildcatter & geophysical engineer, worked up the first regional project targeting the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, beginning in 1969.  A former Sun Oil geophysical engineer, Moore sold it to colleagues at Sun Oil in 1970 for $25,000.  Moore had worked for Sun in the 1940-50’s, and partnered with them in Lower Tuscaloosa sand wells drilled in the McComb field area during the 1950-60’s. He later called the project, “The South Slope Project”, in comparison to Alaska’s North Slope discovery of the day, and speculated of a nearly 50 billion barrel in-place resource.  Moore chronicled TMS shows in over 50 area wells throughout the 1950-60’s.   In late 1971, Sun Oil drilled the Sun #1 Spinks well in Pike County, MS, coring over 310’ of the TMS at Moore’s urging. It was subsequently plugged as non-commercial, after perforating just 24’ of TMS and fracking with 30,000 lb. of sand & gelled diesel oil at up to 6,200 psi. Conventional core revealed silt inclusions, crossbedding and fracturing with heavy oil shows, and more than forty percent of the core had fractures. Undaunted, Moore then sold the project to Callon Petroleum in 1972, who partnered with Middle South Utilities’s System Fuels, in funding the next leasing and drilling effort.  The partnership drilled the Callon #1 Cutrer well in Tangipahoa Parish in late 1974, which was eventually junked and abandoned after running an uncemented liner through the TMS. In early 1975, they then drilled and cored 120’ of the TMS in the Callon #2 Cutrer well, which they fracked and produced from 60’ of TMS perforations until 1991. This well was eventually plugged and abandoned, due to poor economics of the time. They fracked it with about about 80,000 lbs. of sand & gel oil, but the tubing ruptured at about 15,000#, causing the frac to screen out. During its lifetime, the well produced 2500 BO from the TMS. Permeabilities from the core ranged from .01-.06 millidarcies and porosities 2.3-8%. Moore then sold the project one last time, to Texas Pacific in 1977 who drilled the Texas Pacific #1 Blades well in late 1977, also in Tangipahoa Parish, but the TMS was not diamond cored. That well has produced 24 MBO from the TMS over the past 30 years from 134’ of perforations, and is still producing a few barrels per day. After four wells in 7 years, it would be more than a decade before another test targeted the TMS, and although Moore lived almost another 20 years, the partnership’s leaseblock of 10 year leases expired, and his grand vision of 1,000+ producing wells from the TMS was not to be realized during his lifetime.  Over a decade before horizontal drilling became practical, Moore had caused the drilling of four vertical wells targeting the TMS, and seen two wells put on production at non-commercial rates. 

To review his TMS notes from 1976, click on the link:

Thanks to Clint Moore for assistance on his father’s early history in the play.


  1. Thanks Kirk for all the great info. It is nice to have new info on the TMS as the drill bits slowly turn.

  2. Great article on the history of the TMS.

    1) Does anyone know the frac status of the BOE well?

    2) With silt and permeability numbers of the TMS, does anyone know what Devon and Encana have in mind as a way to produce the TMS?


  3. Kirk,

    Thanks for this blog.
    Question: What could the size of a drill pad tell you? A large pad of say + 10 acres would mean what, if anything?

  4. WR,
    No news about the BOE frac.
    Frac jobs are large operations. With regard to wellsite size on horizontal wells, "more" is better. Also, it might indicate that they plan to drill more than one horizontal from that location. Which location is 10 acres?

  5. I hear that the frac job is finished on the BOE, but no news available yet on results. Another well site is supposedly still in the plans so that is good news.

  6. I was just curious about well pad size. I hear they range from 4-15 acres and never understood why.I have heard they vary in size in the Haynesville. What size is the BOE pad and the Devon pad near Ethyl?