The prolific Cenomanian–Turonian Eagle Ford unconventional resource play of Texas has lateral and time equivalent extensions that are relatively underexplored, such as the Agua Nueva of Mexico and the Tuscaloosa of Louisiana–Mississippi. Are these plays comparable to the Eagle Ford play, and can understanding gained in a data-rich play be applied to characterize emerging plays where data are more limited?
In this study, diverse public domain datasets integrated within a sequence stratigraphic framework are used to assess the unconventional prospectivity of the Cenomanian–Turonian interval from Mexico to Mississippi. Regional geological evaluation of these units enables the prediction of parameters that include source-rock quality, net thickness, mineralogy, maturity, and reservoir pressure. These outputs are used to map and high-grade prospective play areas, and provide the basis for a regional resource-in-place assessment. From this, we highlight that only the northern Burgos and Sabinas basins of Mexico proximal to a paleo-shelf feature appear to contain resources that are equivalent to the Eagle Ford formation. The Tuscaloosa play and a majority of the Agua Nueva play, although containing areas with moderate resources in place, may not be equivalent to the Eagle Ford play.
Following this, we characterize geological conditions that are favorable to production, using the Eagle Ford play as an analogue. Sweet spots within this play are well understood and are primarily controlled by maturity, mineralogy, net thickness, and reservoir pressure. We will show that areas with the highest in-place resources do not necessarily correlate with the highest production, and that geological understanding can improve the chance of drilling a high-producing well. Using this, we suggest a high-graded potential area for gas production that extends into northern Mexico.