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Planning for TMS Success from Day One

Posted by bernell on October 29, 2014

There is no real news here...just some rambles.

But, if you have the time, bear with me…there is a point to the story and you may enjoy it.
When my daughter was 11 and 12, she played baseball with the boys.
  She was a catcher. She was the only girl in the league. Though she was competitive with the boys, I felt she (and the boys’ egos) would be better off if we found her another outlet beyond age 12. Fortunately, my daughter agreed.

Unfortunately, the only similar girls sport in the area was slow pitch softball and for a baseball catcher this wasn’t something that captured my daughter’s interest.  So, we looked into fast pitch softball, a sport not played in Southwest Mississippi at the time.

My daughter and I traveled to watch fast pitch softball played at the highest levels in Louisiana.
  The coach of the 16U Louisiana ASA state championship team that year happened to be from Liberty (Glenn Moore, who went on to become the head softball coach at LSU and is presently serving as the head softball coach at Baylor University). 

We wanted to be a success at this new sport, but soon learned that one of the first things you must have to play fast pitch softball is a pitcher.  And, girl pitchers were scarce in Southwest Mississippi.  So, we set out to learn.  “We” being an ignorant me and a determined daughter.  

We went to clinics, read books, watched video…and practiced.   Fortunately, we determined to do it right.  And, doing it right takes not only practice, but the right kind of practice.  There are no short cuts.  And, there are lots of failures along the way…lots of balls…lots of walks and hit batters.

Another thing we did simultaneously was we helped to get others in the area interested in the sport.  It’s not a lot of fun playing fast pitch softball without others on the field with you.  More importantly, with others involved, we helped each other to learn how to play the sport.

We brought in Coach Moore and others to hold clinics and hold exhibition games.  We had practice leagues and helped create summer leagues for the sport.  The sport slowly caught on here.

One thing we learned along the way was that, if you do it right, success will eventually follow.  My daughter (always a catcher at heart) became a pitcher and helped lead her high school team in the area to a runner-up state title as a pitcher, five years after we first decided to learn to pitch. 

Other schools in the area did even better and have won multiple state titles in fast pitch softball over the years.

During the summer months in the intervening years, my daughter managed to get away from pitching back to her first love and was catcher on the Louisiana ASA 16U state championship team when she was 15, among many great memories generated as the sport took us to several states and a myriad of experiences we would never have had otherwise.

Her summer travels and experiences influenced others in the area to also enjoy this more challenging level of play of this very fun sport.

So, our quest to find an outlet for my daughter’s interests was not only a personal success for us, but, along the way, helped bring fast pitch softball to our little part of the world.  In the end, that was the most gratifying and enduring part of our efforts.

Nice story.  But what does this have to do with the TMS?

Well, as time goes on I can see some similarities.

It may surprise you to know that from day one there was collaboration with most, if not all, of the operating companies that are now in the TMS.  I’m told that when the Amite County BOE well was fracked in 2011 there were representatives of several of these companies on hand.  (Note: the BOE was actually drilled by Encore a couple of years earlier, but was fracked by Encana in 2011).

Obviously, the “we” of the TMS are the operating companies leading the way.

You see, early on these companies realized the TMS was going to be a very tough formation to figure out.  Though the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale was believed to be full of oil, it also was very deep and very complex. A lot of brains had to be involved and a lot of bought knowledge was going to need to be shared. If things were going to be figured out, it was going to take a lot of folks working together to do it.

So a plan was put into place to share the lessons learned and accumulate the knowledge obtained from these lessons to break the code and successfully produce the most complex shale play to-date in the world.

Another example of the plan for long term success was that Encana, from day one, doubled up on its personnel on these rigs.  I’m told that normally there is only one company man on a rig, but that there is usually a supervisor over drilling for several rigs in an area at a time.  To-date, EnCana has had one supervisor assigned to only one rig in the TMS.   Two rigs...two supervisors.

The intent I’m told is to have the experienced supervisors focus efforts on new rigs brought into the play.  Hands-on experience in dealing with the complexities here can help the new rigs to be a success from day one.

And, with the exception of some continuing issues with hole stability, it is obvious the speed of drilling in the TMS has dramatically improved in 2014.  Presumably, the knowledge of how to successfully drill these wells can be passed along to new rig personnel.

Likewise, the information sharing efforts have created formulaes for successfully fracking the TMS formation.  I understand minor differences continue to exist between the companies in how the wells are fracked, but, over time, I’m confident the differences will become fewer as continuing experimentation yields better and better results.

Now, we’ve been told there would be a Boom when the TMS finally hit its full development mode, likely in 2015.  I’m of a mind we will see a Bloom or blossoming of the play beginning in 2015.

I’m not sure exactly what geographic portion of the play will be involved, but I expect us to see an increase in activities in 2015.  I expect fewer walked/hit batters and more strike outs.  Far more wins than losses, perhaps even a championship season will result.

And, if my vision is accurate, the plans from back in 2011 and before will create a positive change to Southwest Mississippi and the Florida Parishes and, perhaps to the west side of the Mississippi River.  A positive change the likes of which have never been seen.

Stay tuned!

What do you think about it?