I personally don't care for the name "Tuscaloosa Marine Shale", but the naming convention was created before I was born. There are many marine shales in the Tuscaloosa interval, so that name is not very unique or descriptive. Lithostratigraphic nomenclature usually loses its value once you "leave the neighborhood". Technically, based on over twenty years of sequence stratigraphic work across the trend, I identify this interval as the "upper portion of the Tuscaloosa A Transgressive Systems Tract". The acronym UPTATST might be hard to sell.
The shale being pursued across Vernon, Rapides, and Sabine Parishes is the UPTATST as it is to the east in the Florida Parishes and Mississippi. They are age equivalent, but are part of different hydrocarbon systems and don't share the same rock properties. In a broad sense, I don't believe that they share the same hydrocarbon saturations. The drilling results will deliver the "proof in the pudding" over the coming years. High initial production rates with stable declines will be the ticket to profitability.
At the end of the day, the name of the interval is irrelevant. The age equivalency is also irrelevant. The only relevant criteria are the properties of the rock and the hydrocarbon saturation within it. Those will determine the economics of the play.
"Shale-gas and shale-oil plays are not necessarily strictly 'shale' plays as hybrid system - those systems with mixed lithofacies present - appear to be the most productive. Strictly speaking shale is defined by particle size, but in shale-gas plays it is more important to know mineralogy as well as having clay speciation."
Dan Jarvie, Worldwide Geochemistry LLC
I'm working on a comparison of the TMS to the Eaglebine (Madison, Grimes, and Brazos Cty, TX) and the Eagle Ford of Burleson County, Texas. This might be the best analog for the TMS if one is required. The Eagle Ford of south Texas stands alone. Using the rock properties and lithology of the south TX Eagle Ford as an analog for any areas of the TMS is inaccurate and misguided.
I hope that the play works from Texas to Mississippi. It would be a great boom for my home state. Seeing oil booms occur in areas with poor economies is always a great thing. For reasons of simplicity and consistency, this blog will continue to refer to the shale across the entire state as the TMS.