|Core Areas Overview
Swift Energy’s oil and gas operations are focused along the U.S. Gulf Coast in the onshore and inland-water areas of Louisiana and Texas. We have three core areas of operation, each consisting of a group of parishes or counties within which we operate producing oil and natural gas fields and maintain a program of development and exploratory drilling. The areas are identified as (1) South Texas, (2) Southeast Louisiana, and (3) Central Louisiana.
Each of our core areas of operation has resulted from our long-term strategy of gaining majority interests in multiple fields within a specific geographical area. The three areas are sufficiently separated to provide a balance of reserves with respect to oil vs. natural gas, developed vs. undeveloped, and short-lived vs. long-lived. We serve as operator of the fields, thereby capitalizing on economy of scale, minimizing costs, and better utilizing our technical and operational expertise. Each core area has its own multidisciplinary asset development team responsible for managing the fields within the core area.
South Texas Core Area
Operations in our South Texas core area began in 1989 when we obtained majority interests in a number of wells producing from the tight Olmos sand in the AWP field in McMullen County. We subsequently enlarged our presence in the field and drilled hundreds of vertical wells in the Olmos sand through 2008. Thereafter, we largely converted to horizontal drilling prompted by the increasing availability of advanced horizontal drilling technologies, together with improvements in the hydraulic fracturing and geoscience technologies. In 2007, we expanded our South Texas area with the acquisition of interests in other wells producing primarily from the Olmos sand in the Las Tiendas field in Webb County and the Sun TSH field in La Salle County, as well as other interests that we subsequently sold.
In 2009, we initiated a horizontal drilling program to the Eagle Ford shale formation lying below the Olmos formation in the AWP field in McMullen County. At the same time we initiated a horizontal drilling program to the Eagle Ford formation below the Olmos formation in the Las Tiendas field in Webb County, with the Eagle Ford formation being identified as the Fasken field. Subsequently, in 2010, we began a horizontal drilling program to the Eagle Ford formation below the Olmos formation of the Sun TSH field in LaSalle County, with the Eagle Ford formation in that location being identified as the Artesia Wells field.
The reserves in the Eagle Ford formation in the Fasken field consist of dry natural gas, while those in the Artesia Wells field and the AWP field consist of a mixture of liquids and gas.
As of December 31, 2013, we had 37,300 gross and 34,802 net developed acres and 16,500 gross and 10,300 net undeveloped acres in the Eagle Ford. A large portion of our undeveloped Eagle Ford acreage underlies developed Olmos acreage. In the Olmos we had 59,900 gross and 48,400 net developed acres and 8,000 gross and 8,000 net undeveloped acres.
Our 2013 year-end proved reserves in our South Texas core area consisted of 50.9 MMBoe developed and 123.8 MMBoe undeveloped reserves, for total proved reserves of 174.7 MMBoe, or 79.6% of our 2013 year-end total proved reserves. Our Fasken and AWP Eagle Ford fields in South Texas accounted for approximately 58% of the company's proved reserves at year-end 2013.
During 2013, we successfully drilled 42 wells in our South Texas core area: 14 wells in our Artesia Wells Eagle Ford field, 20 wells in our AWP Eagle Ford field, 3 wells in our AWP Olmos field, and 5 wells in our Fasken Eagle Ford field. Our South Texas area provided 76.7% of our 2013 annual production of 11.7 MMBoe.
See South Texas Core Area.
Southeast Louisiana Core Area
Our Southeast Louisiana core area of operations includes two principal fields: the Lake Washington field located in the northwest corner of Plaquemines Parish and the Bay de Chene field located along the common boundary of Lafourche Parish and Jefferson Parish. Both fields are inland-water fields that produce liquids-rich reserves from multiple stacked Miocene sand layers radiating outward and downward from the surface of a centrally located salt dome. Drilling and completion operations in the fields, which are highly faulted, are conducted from barge-based rigs.
We acquired our first properties in Lake Washington in 2001, purchasing additional reserves in 2006. We purchased 100% working interests in Bay de Chene in 2004 and 2005. Between the two fields is a region where we drilled a successful exploratory well in 2008 (the Shasta prospect). Our early wells in Lake Washington were drilled to depths of approximately 6,000 feet, but after 2004, when we conducted a three-dimensional seismic survey over the field and subsequently developed a proprietary geoscience database over 700 square miles, we began drilling to depths exceeding 16,000 feet. When drilling began in Bay de Chene in 2006, it was also covered by the database and Bay de Chene wells reached depths of approximately 15,000 feet.
Both Lake Washington and Bay de Chene have undergone significant infrastructure development to upgrade the fields and also to repair extensive hurricane damage. Hurricane Katrina inflicted damage on both fields in 2005, and Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike destroyed vital facilities in Bay de Chene in 2008, resulting in the shut-in of the field's production for an extended period. Large new production processing facilities were constructed in both fields, with the Lake Washington facility commissioned in mid-2008 and the Bay de Chene facility commissioned in mid-2009. Following the collapse of commodity prices in late 2008 and our subsequent focus on horizontal drilling in South Texas, we deferred drilling deeper wells in these fields; however, we launched a shallow well drilling program in Lake Washington in 2009 that, together with other production optimization activities, has consistently added to the field's production.
As of December 31, 2013, we owned drilling and production rights in 16,697 net acres in Lake Washington and 14,254 net acres in Bay de Chene. Our 2013 year-end proved reserves in Southeast Louisiana consisted of 7.5 MMBoe of developed and 6.7 MMBoe of undeveloped reserves, for total proved reserves of 14.2 MMBoe, or 6.5% of the company’s 2013 year-end total proved reserves. The core area provided 15.3% of our company’s 2013 total production of 11.7 MMBoe.
In 2013, we drilled two development wells in Lake Washington, one of which was a dry hole. We also performed 17 recompletions and numerous production enhancement operations in the field, including sliding sleeve changes, gas lift modifications, and well stimulations, and we expect to perform up to 20 recompletions in the field during 2014.
At year-end 2013, we had 44 proved undeveloped locations in Lake Washington and one proved undeveloped location in Bay de Chene. In 2013, we commenced the application of advanced inversion techniques to identify new drilling opportunities around the Lake Washington salt dome.
See Southeast Louisiana Core Area.
Central Louisiana Area
Our Central Louisiana core area includes two fields producing from the Austin Chalk trend and one field producing primarily from the Wilcox sands. The two fields producing from the Austin Chalk trend, both acquired in a large company acquisition in 1998, are the Masters Creek field, which is located at the adjoining southern corners of Rapides Parish and Vernon Parish in Louisiana; and the Burr Ferry Field, which lies along the western border of Vernon Parish and is subdivided into North Burr Ferry and South Burr Ferry. The field producing from the Wilcox sands, acquired in 2005, is the South Bearhead Creek field in Beauregard Parish.
We pursued a vigorous horizontal drilling program in the Austin Chalk fields from 1998 to 2001, but because of drastic changes in the industry environment we shifted our focus from the short-lived Austin Chalk reserves to long-lived reserves in other core areas. From 2006–2008, we conducted a 100% successful drilling program of 19 vertical wells in the Bearhead Creek field, but also suspended that program when commodity prices dropped sharply in 2008. In 2010, with the advancement in horizontal drilling technologies, especially in geosteering, we resumed drilling in the Burr Ferry Austin Chalk field with a 50% joint venture partner, and in 2011 we drilled one well in the Masters Creek field.
As of year-end 2013, we owned drilling and production rights in 98,671 net acres in Burr Ferry, 50,057 net acres in Masters Creek, and 7,327 net acres in South Bearhead Creek. During 2013, we participated in drilling two non-operated wells in Burr Ferry and drilled our first horizontal well in the Wilcox sands in South Bearhead Creek field.
Our 2013 year-end reserves in the Central Louisiana area consisted of 4.4 MMBoe of developed and 25.8 MMBoe of undeveloped reserves, for total proved reserves of 30.2 MMBoe, or 13.8% of the company’s total proved reserves. The area contributed 7.6% of our company’s 2013 total production of 11.7 MMBoe.
See Central Louisiana Core Area.
For additional information, please see the latest Form 10-K and Form 10-Q.