Lafayette-based PetroQuest Energy has acquired interests in 24,600 acres in Avoyelles Parish in the Louisiana section of the Austin Chalk formation, a move the company says will help provide years of drilling prospects.

PetroQuest is paying for the leases with $8.75 million from selling some of its water disposal assets in east Texas, about $6 million in cash and 2 million shares of stock. The company plans to drill its initial horizontal test well during the second quarter of 2018.

The formation stretches from Texas across the midsection of Louisiana.

PetroQuest believes that applying modern hydraulic fracturing methods to the formation will allow it to achieve "a substantial uplift in recoveries" compared to vintage unfracked wells. PetroQuest compared the results of 22 fracked wells with hundreds of unfracked Austin Chalk wells in Karnes County, Texas. The average recovery per fracked well was the equivalent of more than 600,000 barrels of oil, a 500 percent increase over unfracked wells.

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