|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 La Salle 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, 2014, we had 36,316 gross and 29,706 net developed acres and 34,455 gross and 27,010 net undeveloped acres in the Eagle Ford in South Texas. A large portion of our undeveloped Eagle Ford acreages underlies developed Olmos acreage. In the Olmos we had 49,917 gross and 46,518 net developed acres and 24,526 gross and 21,940 net undeveloped acres.
Our 2014 year-end proved reserves from continuing operations in our South Texas core area consisted of 56.8 MMBoe developed and 100.8 MMBoe undeveloped reserves, for total proved reserves of 157.6 MMBoe, or 81.26% of our 2014 year-end total proved reserves.
During 2014, we successfully drilled 36 horizontal wells in our South Texas core area: 20 wells in the AWP Eagle Ford field and 16 wells in the Fasken Eagle Ford field. Our South Texas core area provided 10,239 MBoe of our total 2014 annual production of 12,387 MMBoe (or 82.7%).
On July 15, 2014, we closed a transaction with Saka Energi to fully develop 8,300 acres of natural gas Eagle Ford shale properties in our Fasken area. In late 2014 we acquired 12,635 acres of high-quality contiguous Eagle Ford gas acreage at Oro Grande in La Salle County, with the lease containing a one-year option to lease an additional contiguous 11,850 acres in McMullen County.
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. 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.
Following the collapse of commodity prices in 2008 and our subsequent focus on horizontal drilling in South Texas, we reduced and eventually deferred all drilling in the Southeast Louisiana core area, instead concentrating on a production enhancement program in the Lake Washington field. The program consists of performing recompletions, implementing sliding sleeve changes, and carrying out numerous other operational activities to maintain the field's production level. In 2014 we performed 23 production enhancement operations.
Our 2014 year-end proved reserves in our Southeast Louisiana core area consisted of 5.7 MMBoe of developed and 5.9 MMBoe of undeveloped reserves, for total proved reserves of 11.6 MMBoe, or 6.0% of the company's 2014 year-end total proved reserves. The core area provided 1,459 MBoe of our company's 2014 total production of 12.4 MMBoe. At year-end 2014, we had 26 proved undeveloped locations in Lake Washington and one proved undeveloped location in Bay de Chene.
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; 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 Masters Creek field 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. 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. No drilling occurred in the core area during 2014. In 2013, we announced that we were entering a sales process to divest the company of all its Central Louisiana properties in order to focus on our South Texas operations. At year-end 2014, this sales process was still ongoing.
Our 2014 year-end reserves in the Central Louisiana area consisted of 3.7 MMBoe of developed and 20.8 MMBoe of undeveloped reserves, for total proved reserves of 24.5 MMBoe, or 12.7% of the company's total proved reserves. The area contributed 656 MBoe of the company's total 2014 production.
See Central Louisiana Core Area.
For additional information, please see the latest Form 10-K and Form 10-Q.