Union County, AR

Established for mineral owners in Union County to share info on leasing and drilling activity in this county. Open to all landmen and others to share pertinent info.

Members: 42
Latest Activity: Mar 6

Discussion Forum

Any Union county O&G news ?

Started by Hog_Ark. Last reply by Joe Deerhunter Jan 30. 5 Replies

Happy Thanksgiving to all!I have been away from this site for quite some time. With all the latest news in the O&G industry is any of it taking place in Union county? Anything going on between Smackover and Mt Holly?My Best,RogerContinue

Union County......good or bad news!!!!!!

Started by Jimburgess. Last reply by L Davis Dec 27, 2013. 7 Replies

It seems that all of the conversation about lower brown dense takes place on one thread.  It also seemsthat all of the interest and activity is in Union Parish.  I am curious if any mineral owner in lower southeastern Union County has had their…Continue

Verify mineral rights ownership

Started by Barry West. Last reply by Skip Peel - Independent Landman Jan 23, 2012. 1 Reply

How can I verify ownership of my mineral rights without doing a title search or travling to El Dorado? Barry WestContinue

Union County mineral owners need to "be in the know"!!!

Started by Jimburgess. Last reply by JB13 May 13, 2010. 1 Reply

It is very important for all mineral owners to know where their mineral ownership islocated and that this ownership has great value. In the old days, oil companies wouldsend a draft with a lease already filled out with the basic 1/8 royalty and…Continue

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Comment by Jimburgess on March 6, 2014 at 8:17am

Is thereany new info on SWE renewing leases this year for the South Union County or Union County area?  My leases come up for renewal in May and Dec, 2014.  Any rumors or opinions?

Jim Burgess

Comment by Skip Peel - Independent Landman on December 23, 2012 at 9:24am

Happy Holidays, Jim

Comment by L Davis on February 13, 2012 at 2:34pm

Roger, I went to school at MT Holly and know your area.  I do not know if the brown dense leasing has gone that far north or not.  There were reports of leasing up to Mt Holly, east to Libson, and farther east along Mt Holly road north of the airport and including the airport.  Except for this area, the leasing has been south of hwy 82. 

Comment by Roger Booth on February 13, 2012 at 1:48pm

Greetings all, I have land/minerals in Union county between Smackover and Mt. Holly on what is known as the Silverhill loop. I have never leased this. Is it not in the right area for oil? thanks Roger

Comment by Barry West on January 25, 2012 at 3:58pm

How can I verify ownership of mineral rights in Union County, Arkansas?

Bary West

Comment by L Davis on July 7, 2011 at 4:36pm

Smackover vertical well of interest


Be sure to read comments in Exhibit 6



Comment by L Davis on July 7, 2011 at 9:31am

Brown Dense exploration will occur outside known South Arkansas oil fields, AOGC head says

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Lawrence Bengal

Lawrence Bengal

Lawrence Bengal, director of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission, speaks Wednesday during a public meeting at the Magnolia Junior High School Auditorium.


Posted: Thursday, July 7, 2011 3:20 am | Updated: 3:34 am, Thu Jul 7, 2011.

South Arkansas landowners who may be unaccustomed to dealing with companies that want to lease or drill on their land for oil should arm themselves with information, Lawrence Bengal told about 50 people in Magnolia on Wednesday night.

Bengal, director of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission, spoke to area residents during a public meeting at the Magnolia Junior High School Auditorium. It was the second of two meetings the commission set in South Arkansas to familiarize landowners with the leasing process. CLICK HERE to read's exclusive report on the June 23 meeting in El Dorado.

Land leasing for drilling activity has become relevant because of oil company interest in the Lower Smackover Brown Dense, a rock formation approximately 10,000 feet below South Arkansas. During the June meeting in El Dorado, commission member Mike Davis of Magnolia said exploration was in an "embryotic" stage. Only after oil companies spend millions of dollars for test wells and core samples, and production data and research, will it be known if there are recoverable amounts of oil in the Brown Dense. There is no guarantee, Davis told the El Dorado audience.

On Wednesday, Bengal said the commission was on a mission to help the public understand what's going on.

"The Brown Dense, to date, has not produced (oil)," Bengal said.

Two test wells have been drilled. "One test well has produced some oil. We are early on in the development of the Brown Dense. We are now in the leasing phase," Bengal said.

"South Arkansas, unlike the Fayetteville Shale, is not unaccustomed to leasing. But the Brown Dense is going to be a little bit different in that the potential for production will occur outside the historical producing fields," Bengal said.

"Our goal is to get ahead of the curve and provide as much information as possible," he said.

Shane Khoury, deputy director and general counsel, and Alan York, assistant general counsel for the commission, took about 30 minutes to walk through the duties and responsibilities of the commission, and to clarify language typically found in leases that property owners are asked to sign.

The commission does not have the authority to help landowners negotiate leases or to interpret leases. They emphasized that landowners should negotiate agreeable terms with oil companies, or employ an attorney to do so.

They also went into detail about the concept of integration - or what happens when an individual landowner refuses to accept an agreement or to negotiate at all. Since there may be many parties who want to see a well drill and oil produced, landowners who don't consent are viewed legally as failing to provide an oil company with surface rights - or the right to come on a landowner's property to drill. The landowner will still receive the same lease and royalty payments as other landowners.

There were few questions from the Magnolia audience.

One dealt with the controversial process of "fracking." This involves pumping water and other fluids at high pressure into a rock formation with the goal of shattering the rock, thus releasing the oil within. Many people believe that this process contaminates, or has the potential to contaminate, water supplies.

A woman in the audience said that she wanted to negotiate a lease that would prohibit a drilling from fracking under her land.

"We're talking about a formation that's going to be 9,000 to 10,000 feet below the surface. It's going to be at least 7,000 to 8,000 feet or more from the fresh water. I don't believe that there's any chance that a horizontal frac at 9,000 feet is going to contaminate the fresh water at 800 feet," Davis said.

Aside from that, the wells are encased and have multiple packing systems.

York said that fracking is so widely accepted within the industry that development of the Brown Dense would not be possible without it.

Chad White of Magnolia, chairman of the commission, also spoke briefly. 

Comment by L Davis on June 19, 2011 at 10:36am

The following ad was in the El Dorado paper 06/19/11.  Is anyone familiar with this type meeting and what might be discussed?



The Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission (AOGC) will host informational panel discussions regarding the recent oil and gas leasing activity in Union and Columbia Counties.

The first panel discussion will be held at a public meeting beginning at 6:30 pm on June 22, 2011 at the El Dorado Conference Center, 311 South West Avenue El Dorado, AR 71730.

The second panel discussion will be held at a public meeting beginning at 6:30 pm on July 6, 2011 at Magnolia Junior High School Auditorium, 540 East North Street, Magnolia, AR 71753

Lawrence E. Bengal, Director

Comment by L Davis on June 13, 2011 at 11:33am

The article 'Oil in Smackover Formation' has been posted on

Comment by L Davis on June 13, 2011 at 8:52am

This is an expanded version of the Ch 7 article that was in the El Dorado Paper today.

Oil in Smackover Formation

Can it be tapped? That’s the ‘million-dollar’ question

Oil-soaked well crews were a common sight around El Dorado and Smackover in the early 1920s.

Associated Press

SMACKOVER (AP) — Oil companies have been furiously buying leases in south Arkansas in hope of getting a share of oil trapped in limestone almost two miles beneath the ground.

Whether that oil can be tapped affordably remains to be seen.

“That’s the million-dollar question,” said David M. Schoeffler, senior project manager for Schoeffler Energy Group in Lafayette, La.

Schoeffler said the firm was “very much involved” in buying leases for a client, despite the uncertainty of the find.

The oil is in what’s known as the Smackover Formation, which is different from the shallower Smackover Field, a source of oil in Union County since the boomtown days of the 1920s.

The town of Smackover, population 2,000, is home to the Arkansas Natural Resources Museum, formerly known as the Oil and Gas Museum. An introductory display explains the various layers of rock and oil deposits beneath the ground, but it only goes down to 8,000 feet.

The oil that’s creating the excitement is trapped in limestone between 9,000 and 10,000 feet deep. It has been tapped by one exploratory well, which only pumped out about 45 barrels per day, said Lawrence Bengal, director of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission.

Even at prices near $100 per barrel, that’s hardly enough to pay for an investment of more than $10 million, especially considering that oil wells produce a diminishing return as the supply is tapped out.

Another firm has applied for a permit to drill a second exploratory well.

Bengal and others say drillers need time to perfect the method, just as natural gas drillers in the Fayetteville Shale play needed time to work out the technique of using water and chemicals pumped in to the ground at high pressure to fracture rock and extract the fuel.

One difference is that the oil drillers will be trying to penetrate limestone, not shale, which is much less dense.

Rob Reynolds, president of Shuler Drilling Co. in El Dorado, said initial costs will be high for companies that want a piece of the action.

“Rocks are more complicated than people think,” Reynolds said. “To give up their contents, it may take a while to figure out how to do it.”

Technology continues to advance, yet even with improved methods, Reynolds said the formation is not guaranteed to lead to an oil boom.

“There is no way to predict the success of this venture,” Reynolds said.

There is plenty of evidence around Smackover and the rest of Union County, near the Louisiana border, of the cycles of the oil business. Oil pumps bob up and down in farm fields while elsewhere abandoned equipment rusts amid high weeds.

Bengal said the most intense leasing is taking place between Magnolia in Columbia County and El Dorado, but the activity stretches into Claiborne and Union parishes in Louisiana and as far west as Miller County and into Texas.

“Much like the Fayetteville Shale (in north-central Arkansas), where people started taking leases in east Arkansas, as far as Woodruff and Cross counties. Those areas were initially thought to be prospective though they turned out not to be,” Bengal said.

Firms involved in buying the leases often are working for oil companies, and neither group is too interested in talking about what they’re up to because of intense competition.

James Fugate, president of Pinebelt Energy Resources Corp. in Fairhope, Ala., said, like Schoeffler, his firm bought leases and the project is now on hold.

“It is certainly large,” Fugate said of the scope of the play. But he could say no more, explaining the work was “a very confidential project.”

Reynolds said his company doesn’t have a direct stake in the play, but the business is well situated if there is a rush to drill.

“You always hope to,” Reynolds said. “It can always develop in a manner different than we had in mind.”

The method of using millions of gallons of fluid to fracture rock, known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking, has caused environmental concerns over disposal of waste water and possible contamination of drinking water wells. The Oil and Gas Commission has ordered a halt to work at two natural gas wells north of Conway, where fracking is suspected of triggering small earthquakes.

The Sparta Aquifer, which is Union County’s only source of drinking water, is only several hundred feet deep. Bengal said drillers don’t need a water permit as there is no indication the drilling would impact the aquifer.

The first exploratory well was drilled horizontally, rather than straight down as wells were commonly drilled to reach oil that’s closer to the surface.

“The (horizontal) wells are more costly than a shallow, vertical hole,” Bengal said. But the expense doesn’t mean only very large oil companies, such as Exxon Mobil Corp. or Royal Dutch Shell, are the only ones that could afford to make the investment.

“You can have smaller independents in this type (of exploration),” Bengal said.

Reynolds said there is a significant risk for investors, large or small.

“There’s no substitute for judgment,” he said.


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