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I have been critical of resource plays in this column, but not because I dislike the plays. What bothers me about resource plays is that many operators fail to use basic geology to improve their performance. The Austin Chalk play in two areas of the onshore Texas Gulf Coast is an example of an unconventional play in which geology and trap definition matter, and can be used to drill wells with better rates and reserves. The Austin Chalk was deposited across much of the Cretaceous Interior Seaway during the Coniacian and Santonian stages, from 89 to 84 Ma. It consists of chalk, marl, shale and volcanic ash beds, and is about 500-600 ft thick. The upper part of the interval is a pure chalk that is highly fractured but is not always charged with oil and gas. The lower part consists of organic-rich marls with high log resistivities that are charged in most areas of onshore Texas.
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