Ponder this from the Sunday Advocate: "South of Shreveport in DeSoto Parish, the story goes that 21 new millionaires were made last month.

The big money may be yet to come."

The story goes on to note that the "big money" would come in the form of 25 percent royalty payments on natural gas mined two miles beneath the Red River soil, in a formation known as the Haynesville Shale. The early payments reportedly making millionaires of large landowners are up-front leases ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 an acre. Though its boundaries or hot zones are not yet defined, the play’s parishes include DeSoto, the mid to southern areas of Caddo and Bossier, the southern tip of Webster, the western end of Bienville, most of Red River and the upper parts of Sabine and Natchitoches.

The Haynesville Shale is being touted for its potential as the largest natural gas field ever in the United States, with many in the oil and gas business believing it holds an estimated 3 trillion cubic feet to 15 trillion cubic feet. Oklahoma City-based independent producer Chesapeake Energy — a major player in the Barnett Shale in the greater Fort Worth, Texas, area — believes the Haynesville Shale could potentially have a larger impact on the company than any other play in which it has participated to date.

Read "The Shale Game" from the May 14 issue of The Independent Weekly for more about this northwest Louisiana play.

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