HOUSTON—Nearly a dozen companies took center stage during Summer NAPE to each give eight-minute pitches, hoping to lure partners for exploration, development and production opportunities in the U.S.

Among them was Josh Cornell, vice president of land for Panther Energy Co. III, who presented a Louisiana Austin Chalk opportunity—the Bloodhound prospect—in Vernon and Beauregard parishes.

“We have 50,000 net acres, mostly 100% ownership tracts. It’s a large contiguous, scalable footprint,” Cornell told a crowd gathered Aug. 15 to hear the prospect preview pitches. “We project over 26 operated DSUs [drill spacing units].”

He added the deep overpressured Austin Chalk Formation is built for long laterals with the company’s asset having a TVD range between 14,000 ft and 16,000 ft.

The Austin Chalk, which spans over 600 miles from the Mexico border into Mississippi, has sparked renewed interest from oil and gas players such as ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil Corp., which added the play to their exploration portfolios.

Others are already seeing success. EOG Resources, which completed five wells in the South Texas Austin Chalk in second-quarter 2018, captured the spotlight in 2017 when the Eagle Ranch 14-1H well in Avoyelles Parish tested at a rate of 1,120 barrels of oil per day and 1,157 million cubic feet of gas per day.

RELATED: Austin Chalk Interest Spreads To Louisiana

Cornell spoke about the potential of the Bloodhound prospect, which the company said is an extension of Masters Creek Field.

“Masters Creek has outperformed Brookeland North and Brookeland South from an oil prospective,” Cornell said. The company pointed out in information handed out at its booth average oil production of 97,947 barrels and 168,386 barrels from the Brookeland North and Brookeland South fields, respectively, compared to 348,231 from Masters Creek.

But there are some challenges.

“Our unknown is what water contribution we’re going to get from the fractures,” said Paul Richardson, vice president of geology for Panther Energy. “Our knowns though are a trend with wells that produce fairly well: 8:1 water ratio. But it’s real easy to get rid of the water here.”

Richardson later added that “drilling might be tough with the fractures,” but 320-plus laterals have been drilled in Masters Creek. “So we know it can be done.” Plus, being in an overpressured oil window works to an advantage, he said.

If Panther’s offering—a negotiable three-year primary term with two-year option to extend leases and no drilling commitments—wasn’t what buyers were looking for, there were plenty of other opportunities for investors.

Other companies pitched investment opportunities for acreage in South Texas, the Gulf Coast region, Michigan Basin, Rockies, California, Alaska and the Anadarko Basin.

The latter included a pitch from Trueblood Resources on a 24 MMbbl-oil potential, multizone Oswego-Cherokee farmout in Oklahoma. The 5,000-acre lease position featuring Pennsylvanian-age carbonates was billed as being geologically well defined with more than 3,000 wells evaluated, having moderate drilling depths of between 7,200 ft and 8,200 ft and an estimated completed well cost of $2.3 million.

The company also sought a partner for its chemical EOR project, which Trueblood Resources President John Trueblood said would start in fourth-quarter 2018 or in early 2019.

“The average well at least in the Oswego is going to be about 300,000 barrels. So it’s very cost effective,” Trueblood said during his presentation. “We’ve done an extensive amount of our own geochem work in the Pennsylvania source rock. It’s just a very, very rich section.”

Trueblood explained that the company plans to spend about $10 million, and it has three drill-ready locations in the Oswego play. Under the farmout terms, an investor could earn 640 net acres by drilling one horizontal test with 25% after payout interest retained. There was also an option to drill more wells and earn interest in the 5,000 acre lease block.

He described Trueblood Resources as a small, family-owned company focused on the Anadarko Basin. But the Oswego Formation in Oklahoma has also attracted some bigger players such as Chesapeake Energy.

“Oswego volumes continue to climb with average 30-day production rates of 1,015 boe per day and over 80 percent oil cuts,” Chesapeake said in its latest earnings release.

Chesapeake is testing advanced completions and longer laterals across its Midcontinent position.

During the presentation, Trueblood pointed out that Chesapeake uses acid in its completions instead of sand, which have proven problematic for others in the play. “We suggest that is the way to complete the wells now,” Trueblood said.

Velda Addison can be reached at vaddison@hartenergy.com.