Industry officials eye potential for onshore oil and gas drilling with tempered optimism

By Carrie Bradon | Feb 19, 2019

After years of decline for onshore drilling, oil and gas producers are working to boost onshore production of oil, a welcome change in comparison to last year when oil and gas companies were under fire for alleged coastal erosion. 

According to Watchdog, the Austin Chalk formation, which begins in Texas and runs through a large portion of central and southeast Louisiana, may bring a fresh source of oil to the state. 

This news comes after a stream of lawsuits were brought against oil and gas companies last year, alleging that drilling operations were eroding the state's coastline. Though the lawsuits have not translated into operations shutdowns for Louisiana energy companies, the threat still looms, making onshore drilling opportunities a refreshing prediction.

“It’s great they’re predicting an increase because Louisiana has a wealth of natural resources,” Tyler Gray, president of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, told Louisiana Record.

Tyler Gray, president LMOGA   Courtesy of LMOGA

However, Gray is not ready to count his chickens just yet, nor are other industry leaders, as a fresh stream of oil is not enough to guarantee that it will mean increased onshore productions.

“In isolation, this is true. Unfortunately, we have seen similar predictions in the past that never came to fruition due to circumstances their models did not consider,” Gray said. 

During 2019, Gray said it will be important for oil and gas companies to consider the productions of the Austin Chalk before they take any measures to tap into the resource, especially as central Louisiana has not often been the site of oil production and Louisiana’s legal climate is not the friendliest toward oil production operations.

“With Louisiana’s current business climate, LMOGA must take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to these predictions,” Gray said.

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