Crawford County Information

Crawford County

Contact Information

Brad Jenkins

Phone: 617-720-2808

Email: info AT bradfordgordon.com

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Crawford County at a Glance

Total holes drilled through December 31, 1989 317
Total oil wells drilled through December 31, 1989 188
Total gas wells drilled through December 31, 1989 19
Total facility wells drilled through December 31, 1989 21
Total dry holes drilled through December 31, 1989 89
Well density - approximately one per two square miles (566 square miles in county)
Total'cumulative oil and lease condensate production through December 31, 1987* 27,167,307 bbls.
Total cumulative natural gas production through December 31, 1987* 56,387,077 Mcf

* Cumulative oil and gas production totals include all production through 1986 and prorated production only for 1987.

GRAYLING - Situated between the prolific producing Devonian structures in the central portion of the Michigan Basin and the even-more-prolific Northern Niagaran Reef Trend, Crawford County has none-the-less made its mark in Michigan oil and gas production history and climbed to rank 10th in natural gas production and 13th in oil output all-time through 1985.

Only the northwest corner of the county has had successful Niagaran reef exploration and the two producing Richfield Formation fields and shut-in Richfield discovery are all in the southern row of townships.

Prior to the 1970's the only producing field in the county was the Beaver Creek Field, discovered in 1947. Producing from the Richfield Formation, the field ranks among Michigan's best with oil production through the end of 1982 of more than 14.5 million barrels of crude oil and more than 20.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

The discovery well of the field was drilled by Pure Oil Company (now Union Oil of California) on the State Beaver Creek A-1 (W SW NW, Sec 17, T25N, R4W, Beaver Creek Township) completed for 120 barrels per day oil with six bpd water at a total depth of 4,160 feet.

The field has seen more than 140 wells drilled, with 68 still in production at the end of 1982. Union Oil began a highly-successful unitized secondary recovery waterflood project in the field in 1963 and has been expanding that project and adding wells each year, encompassing nearly 5,000 acres by the end of 1986.

The only other Richfield production is the five-well Hickeys Creek Field with a contribution of 24,540 barrels of oil through 1982. Sun Oil Company discovered the South Branch Field with Richfield gas production in 1968, but the track record of Richfield gas reservoirs has been poor and the field remains shut in with no production.

Crawford County was first introduced to the Northern Niagaran Reef producing list in 1971 when Shell Oil Company (now operating in Michigan as Shell Western E & P, Inc.) moved what was called at the time "a significant distance basinward" to try a rank wildcat, the Ken- 1-10 (SE SE NW, Sec 10, T28N, R4W, Frederic Township).

The reservoir found by the Kerr 1-10, the Frederic 10, proved to be the leading Niagaran producer in the county, with a total of eight wells accounting for 2,991,393 barrels of oil and 4,417,906 Mcf of natural gas through June 30, 1986. In 1980, Shell converted the reef reservoir into a secondary recovery unit using water-flooding and had a plant built in 1985 to process the oil and gas from the reservoir.

Thus started a relationship between Shell and Crawford County which saw Shell account for 14 of the 18 Niagaran reef discoveries posted in the county during the next 15 years. All of the Shell discoveries have been in Frederic Township, T28N, R4W.

While Shell was concentrating on Frederic, Michigan Oil Company moved into Maple Grove Township, just to the east, and made history while lighting up the skies with a spectacular well fire on the State-Maple Forest-Diefenbach 1-3 (N NE NE, Sec 3, T28N, R3W, Maple Grove Township) in 1976.

It was the evening of May 27 while rig crews were fighting lost circulation zones and gas kicks in a reef at 6,526 feet that the well blew out with flames reaching 400 feet into the air for the next 30 days before Texas wild well tamer Red Adair and Michigan oilfield personnel lowered a blowout preventer stack onto the pipe and closed in the well.

Michigan Oil later completed the Diefenbach 1-3 for initial production of 1,250 Mcf a day natural gas with 300 bpd condensate on choke and the Maple Forest 3 Field, with one well, has produced 404,856 barrels of condensate and 1,658,151 Mcf of natural gas. Production is from the Diefenbach, as a second well drilled in 1984 was marginal and never produced.

The second most-prolific Niagaran reef reservoir in Crawford County is the Frederic 11, discovered by Shell in 1976 on the Talbot- Wood 1-11 (Surf: NW SW SE, Sec 11) again in Frederic Township. The three well field has produced just over 2 million barrels of oil to date and nearly 3.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

The top gas-producing reservoir among the Niagaran reefs is the Frederic 20 Field. discovered by Shell in 1973 on the State Crawford 1-20 (C SW NE, Sec 20) with gas output of 5,994,564 Mcf and condensate totals of 175,785 ban-els through June 30, 1986.

While the exploration to date in Crawford County has centered on the Richfield and Niagaran Formations, the county has seen one deep gas probe and is a likely candidate for future deep drilling.

Union Oil drilled one of the early deep tests in the Basin in 1970, taking the State Beaver Creek C-4 (W NE SW, Sec 21, T25N, R4W, Beaver Creek Township) to 10,142 feet in the St. Peter Formation (just at the top of the Prairie du Chien) before abandoning the project as a dry hole.

Crawford County was given a hint of bigger and better things to come to close out the 1980's and already in 1990 an expected surge in drilling in the Northern Lower Peninsula county has started for deep gas targets and a shallow drilling boom is expected to follow.

Two bright spots in an otherwise pretty bleak national exploration picture have been the deep gas play from Ordovician rock in the Michigan Basin and the shallow Antrim Formation shale gas play centered around Otsego County. Crawford County was missed by much of the deep action until a late 1988 deep gas discovery in Lovells Township (27N, R1W) by Shell Western E & P, Inc. and in early 1989 PetroStar Energy and Wolverine Environmental Production made an Antrim gas find in Maple Forest Township (T28N, R3W) to signal the potential beginning of much more shallower attention.

The first time Crawford County was the subject of a Petroleum History Profile in January 23, 1987's issue of Michigan's Oil & Gas News the focus was mostly a tribute to the prolific Beaver Creek Field and the limited Niagaran success in the northwest corner of the county. But even then the county was labeled as "a likely candidate for future deep drilling" and the low well density of one for each three square miles was noted.

As early as 1989 Crawford County climbed to the third spot on the Permit-by - County list with 26 and the 16 holes total drilled during the year in Crawford County was surpassed by only three other counties.

Further deep exploration will be encouraged by the construction of a pipeline to serve deep gas reserves in the eastern and northeastern portions of the Michigan Basin.

Statistically, the permit and drilling totals are likely to get the quickest jump from the Antrim gas play, where drilling for reserves at depths less than 2,000 feet has boasted a higher than 99 percent success rate in Crawford's neighboring county to the north, Otsego, where 565 holes were drilled in 1989 were predominantly Antrim, accounting for 359 confirmed gas wells and another 159 production cased and thought to be successful.

Crawford may not see the kind of intensive drilling, but the four wells completed to date had test output of 60, 74,34 and 30 Mcfgas per day - similar to early production rates of many Otsego Antrim wells.

General spacing for the Antrim is on 40-acre units and as Otsego County becomes more developed Crawford County is one direction companies may be looking next. Credited with the first Antrim well in Crawford were Wolverine and PetroStar with the State Maple Forest 1-2 (BHL: NE SW SW, Sec 2, T28N, R3W, Maple Forest Township) in January 1989.

Even without the two new plays which figure to have an important role in the county's future, Crawford holds a respectable 11th in gas production among Michigan counties at 56,387,077 Mcf through 1987, counting all production through 1986 and only prorated (mostly the Niagaran wells) for 1987.

For oil output, the county ranks 12th at 27,167,307 barrels through 1986 plus 1987's prorated production. The dominant field for both oil and gas has been the Beaver Creek Field, discovered in 1947 and converted to a secondary recovery waterflood project in 1963.

Almost from its beginning, gas from the Beaver Creek Richfield wells was marketed by pipeline to Dow and the field through 1986 has produced 16,418,262 barrels of oil and 21,020,025 Mcf of natural gas. It all started with Pure Oil Company (a predecessor ofUNOCAL) on the State Beaver Creek A-1 (W SW NW, Sec 17, T25N, R4W, Beaver Creek Township), completed for 120 barrels of oil per day with six bpd water at a total depth of 4,160 feet.

Now more than 150 wells have been drilled in the field, with nearly 100 still operating. Recovery per acre thorugh 1986 was a healthy 3,310 barrels per acre and the waterflood will allow nearly double the recovery from the reservoir compared to just primary production. One good indication of the waterflood effectiveness is the increase from 333,951 barrels per year for 1985 to 376,120 barrels in 1986. Gas production was at 107,020 Mcf for 1983 and more than doubled by 1986 at 214,389 Mcf for the year.

UNOCAL nearly introduced the State's deep gas play almost 20 years ago - or 11 years before Missaukee County earned the honor of being Michigan's first deep gas producer. UNOCAL's 1970 deeper pool test of the Beaver Creek Field - the State Beaver Creek C-4 (W NE SW, Sec 21) - stopped at 10,142 feet in the St. Peter, just short of the Prairie du Chien where the potential for production might have been greatest.

That miss left the honor of Crawford's first deep gas well hanging until Shell tested a strong 8,633 Mcf per day gas from the Lower PdC in mid-1988 on the State Lovells 1-28 (SW SE SW, Sec 28, T27N, R1W, Lovells Township) and followed that up in 1989 with the State Lovells 1-26 (NE SE SW, Sec 26) tested at 1,438 Mcf a day gas and the State Lovells 1-25 (NE SW SW, Sec 25) at total depth and reportedly flare tested.

Accounting for most of Crawford County's fields is Frederic Township, T28N, R4W, where Niagaran pinnacle reefs were first discovered in 1971 when Shell Oil Company moved what was called at the time "a significant distance basinward" and connected on the Ken- 1-10 (SE SE NW, Sec 10). That reservoir proved to be the top Niagaran producer with 3,347,935 barrels of oil and 4,811,117 Meg gas through 1987 from eight wells.

Through 1989, 19 of the 20 Niagaran reservoirs were in Frederic Township and 15 of those were in the 1970's. Waterfloods have helped maintain production levels and improve recovery, but production is declining. Fourteen of those discoveries and most of the development holes were by Shell.

The top Niagaran gas producer was the Frederic 20-28N-4W opened by Shell's State 1-20 (C SW NE, Sec 20) in 1973 and good for a total of 7,451,488 Mcf gas and 182,478 barrels ofcondensate through 1987 from three wells.

Dan Oil & Gas Corporation drilled the Richfield discovery well of the Hickeys Creek Field on the Mead 1-25 (SE NW SE, Sec 25, T25N, R2W, South Branch Township) in 1981 and tested 61 bpd oil, 63 Mcfd gas and 21 bpd water. Five more wells in that section have been joined by one in section 30, T25N, R1W and Dart has unitized the field and started injection for a waterflood in October 1987. The pressuring up effect from three injection wells is just beginning to show and the cumulative 72,496 barrels of oil produced through 1986 should continue to increase.

The real news of Crawford County is that it hasn't been explored to any great degree. The one hole for each two square miles figure is deceptive in that approximately 150 of the total are involved in the Beaver Creek Field.

Crawford has posted a nearly 70 percent success rate with only 89 dry holes in 137 tries. Eliminating the facility wells there have been 207 successful wells in 296 attempts or 69.9 percent.

Part of the credit for a lack of dry holes has been a nearly complete lack of drilling in many areas. Lovells T28N, R2W and T28N, R1W have yet to be drilled as has South Branch T26N, R1W. Grayling Township encompasses the area of five normal township units and three of those (approximately 36 square miles each) have never seen a drill bit. Others have similar low numbers.

State acreage dominates the north and southwest portions of the county, with Federal ownership making up most of the southeast part of the county.

Selected materials on this page copyright 1991 by Michigan Oil & Gas News, Incorporated.