Oil & Basin Research Energy

The Basin Research Energy Section is the oil, gas, and coal research section of the LGS, and it performs research into the nature and occurrence of oil, gas, and coal both in Louisiana and around the world. The BRES disseminates its research and technical information widely, especially to the independent oil and gas producers of Louisiana, thereby enabling more economically efficient exploration and production operations. The Basin Research Energy Section was formerly the LSU Basin Research Institute, which was established in 1984 and which was merged into the Louisiana Geological Survey in 2000.

Oil & Basin Research Energy Staff

Reed J. Bourgeois, Computer Analyst 2
email: rbourg9@lsu.edu
Telephone: 225-578-8879
Brian J. Harder, Research Associate 5
email: bharde1@lsu.edu
Telephone: 225-578-8533
Marty Horn, Assistant Professor of Research
email: mhorn@lsu.edu
Telephone: 225-578-2681


Basin Research Energy Projects

Atlas of Oil and Gas Fields in Offshore State Waters of Louisiana (Volume III: Main Pass Area)

PI: Bobby Jones; Co-PI’s: Chacko John, Brian Harder, Warren Schulingkamp, Reed Bourgeois

Approximately one hundred oil and gas fields lie within the offshore state waters of Louisiana. The periodic bidding on oil and gas leases within this area by petroleum companies makes it an area of prime concern to the state Office of Mineral Resources (OMR), yet publicly available information on fields in this area is fragmentary and not easily accessible. In the past, useful characterizations of fields representative of particular areas in Louisiana have been published by the regional geological societies. These titles served the important function of making available compendia of essential information on the fields, usually by geologists who had worked on them; but they covered only a sampling of fields and were not systematic coverage of the fields in an area. Additionally, they were published at various times between 1960 and 1989, so for many of the fields covered the information is no longer current. Consultation with district geologists at OMR has made it clear that there is a timely need for systematic coverage of areas with fields in the state’s offshore waters, and that they would find a compendium of available information on fields in areas of the state offshore a useful product. The present atlas series addresses this need. The LGS anticipates this project to be a continuing work in which similar treatment would be applied to additional areas in subsequent years.

Basin Analysis and Petroleum System Characterization and Modeling, Interior Salt Basins, Central and Eastern Gulf of Mexico

PI: Marty Horn

This project funded by DOE is a subcontract from the University of Alabama and is a joint project between the Center for Energy Studies (CES) and LGS. Two of the most important oil and gas provinces in North America are being analyzed by employing state-of-the-art geologic-geophysical, geochemical, and computing methods to investigate petroleum-rich formations within their petroleum systems. The CES-LGS portion of this research will concentrate primarily on the North Louisiana Interior Salt Basin. Information from the research is expected to provide and advanced approach for targeting geologic “traps” where oil and natural gas may have collected, primarily below 15,000 feet or well below the depth of most current ongoing exploration efforts.

Coalbed Methane

PI: Warren Schulingkamp

Coalbed methane (CBM) is also known as coalbed natural gas (CBNG) as well as coalseam natural gas (CSNG). Initial research in CBM was begun over ten years ago by John Echols and has been carried on since 2000 in association with Peter Warwick of the USGS. The LGS, ULL and USGS have an ongoing research project in north central Louisiana to assess CBM potential in the state, and have jointly worked on some of the first CBM assessment wells in the state.

Geologic Review

PI: John E. Johnston III

Geologic Review is an ongoing program created by the Louisiana Geological Survey in 1982 which provides regulatory technical assistance to the Coastal Management Division (CMD) of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and to three districts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Oil and gas permit applications made to these two agencies which involve environmental impact to wetlands or other environmentally sensitive areas have their geology, engineering, lease, site-specific, and economic data reviewed and evaluated by the LGS to determine if there is a less-damaging feasible alternative available. Such alternatives may involve such concepts as reducing the size of ring levees and slips, reducing the length of board roads and canals, the use of directional drilling, and the use of alternate and less-damaging access routes which still allowed the well to be drilled while avoiding or minimizing any environmental damage involved. Geologic Review has been proven to significantly reduce the amount of impact from oil and gas operations.

Geologic Review Containerized Mud Systems Guideline
A containerized mud system will be recommended for land-based drilling operations if:

  1. The location is on or immediately adjacent to an area of unusual environmental or administrative sensitivity as defined by Coastal Management Division.
  2. A non-water-based mud is to be used.
  3. A mud cooling system is to be used.
  4. The location is in an area of standing water.
  5. The location is at an elevation of <1' MSL.
  6. The location is less than 500' from a human habitation.
  7. The location is less than 1500' from a body of Section 10 open water or drainage feature, unless it is more than 500' from that water and down gradient from it.
  8. A request to that effect is made by a permitting or commenting agency.

Geologic Review Information Requirements


The following information is what is generally needed for a Geologic Review meeting, although additional unlisted items may be required depending on the nature of each individual application. With the exception of public information no maps or data will be retained and the confidentiality of all items examined will be maintained.

General Information

Name and location of the well, accurate, detailed location plats (normally these are the plats sent to the appropriate agencies before scheduling the meeting); and the nature of the application (i.e. dredging, filling, directional well, etc.); dimensions of any dredging or filling; name of the applicant; names of operator if not the applicant; names and locations of any other applicant wetland permits in the area.

Lease and Regulatory Information

Lease maps, lease information, spacing and unitization constraints, contractual obligations, and any constraints (landowner problems, pipelines, houses, ditches, etc.) that may affect the proposed location.

Site-Specific Data

Aerial photographs, imagery, photographs of the proposed site and proposed access routes, status and/or soundings of proposed access routes, field trip data, and site surveys that provide data about the proposed location. Often the inclusion of site photography can avoid the necessity of a field trip to the site and the associated costs and delays.

Geologic Information

Number of significant objectives, depth and expected contents, structure maps of all significant horizons, well logs of nearby wells (preferably correlated ones), cross-sections relevant to the area, fault cuts, fault plane maps, isopach maps, all significant seismic lines (with interpretations), gas/oil/water contacts, shows and production of nearby wells in the same producing horizon. The well's surface and bottomhole locations should be shown on all maps and the well path should be projected onto all cross-sections and seismic lines.

Engineering Information

TVD of the well, proposed mud program, proposed casing program, presence of depleted zones their depths and pressure readings, presence of overpressured zones and the depth it begins, FPG and FFG plots of nearby wells, well histories of wells in the area, directional history in the area, documentation to back up the presented well histories (i.e. mud recaps, drilling time, bit records, etc.).

Future Plans

The best estimate of the applicant's future plans in the event of both the success and the failure of the well(s) in question.

Economic Data

While not usually needed, detailed AFE's for the well as proposed and as a directional prospect may be required. If needed the applicant will be requested to provide them at a later date.

Meeting Format

The meeting will be held at the State Lands and Natural Resources building in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A fixed format in which questions will be asked in a series paralleling the listings above will be followed. After the information has been obtained the state and federal agencies will meet briefly to determine a joint recommendation after which the applicant will be advised of the results of the review.

Data Standards

Please insure that all data, maps, cross-sections, aerial photos, images, and charts are legible, clearly marked, and interpreted where appropriate. The proposed location's surface and bottomhole location (if different) should be clearly marked on each map, cross-section, seismic line, aerial photo, and image and each item should have its scale and orientation clearly shown. If at all possible all plats and maps should be the same scale.

Geologic Review (GR) meetings are arranged through the lead permitting agency involved with your permit application. The lead agencies are the Office of Coastal Management Division (OCM) for the state and U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) for the federal government. You should contact your permit analyst at the lead agency to arrange the meeting. If you do not know who this is, contact Christine Charrier or Karl Morgan at CMD at 225-342-7591. For COE-only permits, where no CMD permit is required, contact Ronnie Duke (western area), Martin Mayer (central area) or Mike Farabee (eastern area) at 504-865-1121. To insure maximum agency participation a minimum of two weeks advance notice is suggested.


GR Meetings are held in the new LaSalle Building on the northwest corner of North Street and Third Street in downtown Baton Rouge. The easiest way to get there is to exit I-110 northbound at North Street (this exit ramp is oddly on the left side of I-110) and follow North Street west towards the Mississippi River to the state's Welcome Center parking garage at North Street and River Road by the Mississippi River. The LaSalle Building is the building to the east of the parking garage. The meetings are held in a conference room on the 10th floor of the LaSalle Building or there will be a posted notice as to the location. Everyone entering the building must now clear a security checkpoint; please budget a few extra minutes for this.


You can park for free in the state's Welcome Center parking garage at North and River Road immediately to the west of the LaSalle Building by the Mississippi River. If you present the parking ticket you get there to the security staff at their checkpoint on the first floor of the LaSalle Buliding as you check in, your ticket will be validated for free parking.


GR meetings are casual dress; ties, jackets, etc. are not required.

Preapplication GR Meetings

Preapplication GR meetings can save time. They are encouraged and can be set up with the lead agency well before submitting a formal application for a permit. The applicant should mention if there is any specific need for members of any relevant commenting agencies (LDEQ, LDWF, USFWS, etc.) to be present so that their schedules can be worked around.


The document describing the information needed for a Geologic Review meeting can be found here. Applicants occasionally fail to bring sufficient information and as a result the processing of their permit application is sometimes significantly delayed. Please bring everything listed if at all possible; please remember that items that are seemingly unimportant may be very important to the various permitting and commenting agencies involved. If you have any questions at all please contact John E. Johnston III at either hammer@lsu.edu or at the Louisiana Geological Survey (225-578-8657). After business hours he can be reached at 225-931-6622. He can be faxed at 225-578-9257.


The only applicant personnel generally required for a Geologic Review meeting are the appropriate geologist and the appropriate petroleum engineer who are handling the prospect. In the event that there is a regulatory or environmental affairs coordinator or consultant involved in the permit then they should probably also be present. Other applicant personnel are generally not really essential to the meeting. Significant applicant delegations, while certainly allowed, are discouraged as they tend to make meetings large, slow, and inefficient.

National Coal Resource Data System

PI: John E. Johnston III

The LGS has been investigating coal in Louisiana since before World War II. Continually since 1982, the LGS has been working in cooperation with the USGS on National Coal Resource Data System projects. LGS NCRDS work traditionally focused on surface mining operations, but in recent years the coal-oriented focus of the LGS has shifted to coal bed natural gas resources. Much of that recent focus has been on the Big and Russell Coal Beds of the Louisiana Coal Bed Methane Basin (CELCOM), which includes all or portions of Winn, Franklin, LaSalle, Catahoula, Richland, Caldwell and Grant parishes (counties) of Louisiana, and which is part of a larger Tertiary Coal Bed Methane Basin which covers portions of seven southeastern states. Current LGS NCRDS work is focused on the Big and Russell Coal Beds, two thick and reasonably contiguous coal beds with significant potential for future coal bed methane/natural gas production, with well logs being analyzed for point source data, structural and stratigraphic maps being compiled from the point source data, and resource estimates being prepared.