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Facts:  The Cotton Valley Formation Natural Gas Field is located in East Texas above the Haynesville Shale.  You can also find the Cotton Valley trend in Northwest Louisiana.  The Cotton Valley Shale Field is made up of shale, sandstone, and clay deposits which holds natural gas. The Cotton Valley Sandstone formation is located in Rusk County, Panola County, and Harrison County, Texas.  How deep is the Cotton Valley Field?  Located above the Haynesville Shale Field ( Bossier Shale ), the Cotton Valley natural gas field in East Texas is about 7,800 - 10,000 feet deep.  Once you pass 10,000 feet you are hitting into the Haynesville/Bossier Shale.  Below this shale, you have Cotton Valley Lime formation which is very deep. Above the Cotton Valley formation, you have the Travis Peak formation.  Many companies ( Below ) are drilling all four shale areas and producing outstanding well results in East Texas.  There is even known to be oil produced in the Cotton Valley formation...see Exco Resources XCO & Penn Virginia PVA oil findings below.
Goodrich Petroleum ( GDP ) is a natural gas drilling company who is very active in the Cotton Valley field.  To give you an idea what is going on down in these shale formations, Goodrich said in their 1st quarter conference call that they can drill to the Haynesville Shale when at the base of the Cotton Valley shale in about 36 hours.  Goodrich was also asked if they could drill a horizontal well in the Haynesville Shale area from another Horizontal well in the Cotton Valley.  GDP said this would hardly be possible, however, a vertical well is possible obviously.  Goodrich also said a horizontal drilling well would cost about 4-6 million in the Haynesville Shale....the same cost as a Cotton Valley well.
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The following East Texas Cotton Valley Formation counties have been researched below.  Harrison County, Texas - Panola County, Texas - Rusk County, Texas
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Cotton Valley - Harrison County, East Texas
Woodlawn Field -  The Woodlawn field is located in central an upper Harrison County, Texas.  Below the Woodlawn Field is the Blocker Field.
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Cotton Valley -  Panola County, East Texas
Carthage Field -  The Carthage Field is located in most of Panola County
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Cotton Valley - Rusk County, East Texas
Oak Hill Field - The Oak Hill Field is located in East Rusk County, Texas - The city of Beckville is also and active drilling area in the Cotton Valley Shale Formation in Rusk County, Texas.
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Forest Oil ( FST ) Cotton Valley Formation Map
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Cotton Valley Map

Exco Resources ( XCO ) Cotton Valley Map
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Cotton Valley Map - Texas - Louisiana

Companies Drilling in the Cotton Valley Shale Formation

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Goodrich Petroleum - GDP -  During the second quarter of 2009, the Company conducted drilling operations on 12 horizontal Cotton Valley trend wells, of which nine targeted the Haynesville Shale and three targeted the Cotton Valley Taylor sand. During the same period, the Company reached total depth on nine wells and added 17 wells to production. Of the wells added to production, 12 wells produced from the Haynesville Shale, one from the Cotton Valley Taylor sand, one from the James Lime and three from the Travis Peak. As of June 30, 2009, the Company had drilled and logged a total of 447 Cotton Valley trend wells, with a success rate in excess of 99%.

Forest Oil - FSTMoving over to the eastern business unit, our success in the horizontal program in the Cotton Valley continues with the third well completed achieving an IP of 5.5 million cubic feet per day. We have two more drills getting ready for completion. Production in this area reached a new record of 55 million cubic feet per day in the quarter with 15 new wells drilled. We currently run at 5 rigs with two dedicated to the horizontal program. The business unit is ready to take down the new acquisition, utilizing an initial two wells... two rig program with plans to ramp the rig count up to as many as five by the end of the year. Our plans will include evaluation of the Haynesville Shale as well as continued exploitation of the Cotton Valley and Travis Peak formations. **** Craig you mentioned where you are going be drilling horizontal. I think you mentioned in 4 or 5 years, how is that compared to what you thought 6 months ago? **** Well 6 months ago the only thing that maybe even a year ago, we were focused on horizontally of course the Shale's you are always going to do that. But at that time the only buzz was I would say the East Texas Cotton Valley and now you've expanded that to I would just say most tight gas areas ( Haynesville Shale ) and you've also expanded to factory carbonates and now shale's and those same basins. So, you have got multiple horizontal plays going on in a place like East Texas. It's safe to say that I think everybody is not only putting Shale's under a microscope, but their putting horizontals under a microscope where they had typically done verticals before.

Exco Resources - XCO -  Recent reductions in gas prices have put pressure on Cotton Valley economics, but through high grading our drilling opportunities and expected cost reductions, certain projects continue to meet our economic hurdle criteria. We plan to drill three operated Cotton Valley wells in the Vernon Field area, nine operated wells in the Holly/Caspiana Field and two operated wells in the Danville Field. We currently have two vertical rigs drilling in our Vernon Field area and two vertical rigs operating in northwest Louisiana in our Holly/Caspiana Field. The existing rigs are under term drilling contracts and as these commitments expire, we plan to release these rigs.

XTO Energy - XTO -  What was really exciting about the quarter is we completed two of our deep horizontals Cotton Valley Lime, the Gail King 1AH and Gail King 25, one at 21 million a day, the other at 10 million a day. So we now have 3 deep wells that we've completed here this year.  If we then flip to the eastern side East Texas, the Sabine Uplift and Cotton Valley, this is where most of the growth occurred during the second quarter in the Tri Cities field and the Cotton Valley field, both where we are drilling Cotton Valley sand wells, very good wells and anywhere from 2 million to 5 million a day to about 8.

Petrohawk Energy - HK - Elm Grove Field - Petrohawk has assembled a dominant position in this prolific Cotton Valley formation through several years of strategic acquisitions. Its engineers developed a process for co-mingling vertical Lower Cotton Valley production with more shallow Hosston production, allowing more efficient drilling at lower costs. Petrohawk’s initiation in 2007 of a horizontal drilling program in Elm Grove was highly successful. Upon discovery of the Haynesville Shale beneath the Lower Cotton Valley formation, the large position in Elm Grove field became particularly significant as an anchor for Haynesville Shale development activities.

The Field spans parts of Bossier, Caddo, De Soto and River Parishes in Northwest Louisiana, just south of Shreveport. The Hosston zone, comprised of “stringer” sands, is found at depths between 7,500 and 8,500 feet, and the Lower Cotton Valley zone is found at depths between 9,800 and 10,000 feet.

Terryville Field

Discovered in 2005, Terryville Field is a primarily operated for Cotton Valley production, but due to more complex deeper zones, has been a fruitful area of 3D seismic-based exploration in the Grey Sand and Bossier Sand zones. Terryville Field is located in Lincoln Parish, Louisiana.

Penn Virginia - PVA -  In the Cotton Valley, oil wells continue to meet our expectations. We continue to drill the four wells within the GMX, AMI, two rigs outside of GMX, AMI on the 100% acreage that we acquired most recently with the two acquisitions. The 20-acre down spacing is working, is working well. Last year we had about 90 Pods in the Cotton Valley because of that 20-acre down spacing program and the results and the success to-date that PUD inventory has gone up to almost 280 in Cotton Valley. So, in any case, the 20-acre program is working very well.

Questar - STR - Also in northwest Louisiana we plan to drill about 80 Cotton Valley Hosston wells. In 2009, We’re going to allocate more capital to our Haynesville and Cotton Valley Hosston plays in northwest Louisiana and our Woodford shale play in western Oklahoma.

Devon Energy - DVN -   At Carthage, we wrapped up our 102 wells vertical Cotton Valley drilling program during the fourth quarter. We had three rigs running throughout the quarter and drilled 220 vertical wells. In 2009 we expect to spend about $49 million drilling 24 wells.

El Paso - EP - Louisiana 2009 Cotton Valley Update: The conventional low risk resources have also grown substantially, and that includes our Cotton Valley type gas series and the Arklatex where we seldom drill a dry hole and where our Cotton Valley horizontal program has been performing very well.  Since the biggest piece of our domestic spending is in the Arklatex, I’d like to give you a brief update on our Haynesville and Cotton Valley horizontal drilling programs. All of our Cotton Valley activities have been in Louisiana on the eastern half of the play. We’ve been coming up the learning curve quickly in terms of well design and cost.  El Paso notes that the Cotton Valley wells cost 40% less then the Haynesvile Shale wells.  The Cotton Valley natural gas wells are very economical.

Other Companies:

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Cabot Oil & Gas ( COG )