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Genesee County Information

Genesee County

Contact Information

Brad Jenkins

Phone: 617-720-2808

Email: info AT bradfordgordon.com

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Genesee County at a Glance

Total wells drilled through December 31,1990 94
Total oil wells drilled through December 31,1990 41
Total gas wells drilled through December 31,1990 4
Total facility wells drilled through December 31,1990 0
Total dry holes drilled through December 31, 1990 49
Well Density -approximately one well per seven square miles (649 square miles in county)
Total cumulative crude oil and lease condensate production through December 31,1986 486,281 bbls.
Total cumulative natural gas production through December 31,1986 229,331 Mcf

FLINT - Despite having its border only 20 miles from where Michigan's first commercial oil play began in 1925, Genesee County remains only lightly explored and can boast of only minimal production (compared to some of the state's larger fields) from its two existing fields.

Like so many other Michigan counties, Genesee is waiting until someone in the exploration business takes a longer look and finds more hydrocarbons - similiar to the counties with much more production and more wells both to the north and south of Genesee.

Genesee can stack up against any county for success rate for a nine-year span when 11 of 12 holes drilled from 1983 through 1990 were capable of producing oil and/or gas. Unfortunately, all were small producers in known fields and the one hole which had the potential to put Genesee in headlines and attract landmen by the droves was dry and abandoned.

Perhaps the most notable wildcat drilled in the county came in 1988 when Amoco Production Company targeted Argentine Township in the southwest corner of Genesee County for a wildcat permitted to the Trempealeau at 7,520 feet. The hole was part of a Southern Michigan deep search by Amoco and Shell Western E & P, Inc. - two of Michigan's big guns from an exploration standpoint - and was closely watched by other Michigan operators.

But after drilling to 7,781 feet on the Baran Unit l-l5 (SW NW SE, Sec 15, T5N, R5E, Argentine Township) one drill stem test was run, cores were taken in two intervals and the hole finally plugged and abandoned as dry. The drill stem test was run at 7,339-7,427 feet in the Prairie du Chien but did not send gas roaring to the surface flare and was chalked up as a disappointment for Genesee.

Like all other counties in the Michigan Basin, Genesee County's hydrocarbonproducing potential was sealed millions of years ago, hundreds of feet down in rock and today depends on modern geologists and geophysicists to unlock that potential. To date not enough oil or gas has been found in Genesee County to create a great deal of excitement, but the county is one of the 68 Lower Peninsula counties which can boast production.

Through 1986, the latest figures available for non-prorated production, Genesee was ranked 47th for oil output with 486,281 barrels cumulative and was 40th for natural gas at 229,331 Mcf (thousand of cubic feet).

And all that was accomplished with fewer than 100 holes drilled over the 649 square miles (415,360 acres) or approximately one hole for every seven square miles. The overall success rate for the county is 48 percent, showing that little in the way of unsuccessful rank wildcat drilling has been done in many areas of Genesee County.

Genesee currently is in a lull for drilling. After three holes were drilled in 1988, none were drilled in 1989 or 1990 or the first half of 1991. The 94 holes drilled to date include 41 oil wells, four gas wells and 49 dry holes. Except for the 1988 dry Amoco deep test the county had not experienced a dry hole since 1982 when Traverse Oil Company tried the lung (NW SW NW, Sec 7, T8N, R6E, Mt. Morris Township) and abandoned the test after drilling to 3,205 feet and encountering shows in the Sunbury, Antrim and Detroit River.

The exploration scene saw little wildcat drilling in the 1980s and activity dropped off even more to begin the 1990s. Genesee had been a little behind most other Central Basin counties in not joining the production list until 1941 when a one-well Traverse Formation reservoir was opened in the northeast corner of the county. The Otisville Field was the county's first and a Dundee zone was added in 1944 as the second discovery for Genesee with the field's third pool found in the Berea in 1949.The Otter Lake Field was opened with a Berea Pool in 1949 and saw a Detroit River reservoir discovered in 1970 and a Richfield Pool opened in 1981.

Genesee's history may not be as highlighted with oilfield activity and sheer numbers of holes as many other Michigan counties, but the recorded history dates back rurther than most counties. Records on the first hole drilled date back more than 130 years to the 1860s when the "Flint Well" in the northwest of Burton Township "near Flint River in the City of Flint, no data, but near the center of the city" was described in early accounts. Some generalized tops were recorded to a total depth of 1,200 feet.

Soon after the 1925 Saginaw Field discovery, a Cenesee wildcat was drilled "prior to 1928" according to Michigan Department of Natural Resources Geological Survey Division records and does not have a permit number (permits were issued starting in 1927). The Mrs. M. McGinnis No. 1 (NE NW NW, Sec 10, T8N, R6E, Mt. Morris Township) was drilled by the Genesee Development Company with William Bradley and Son as contractor. The hole went to 2,560 feet and was reported "shut down for funds 11/5" before being plugged and abandoned February 5, 1928.

The first permitted hole in Genesee County was the Munsell #1 (NE NW, Sec 21, T9N, R7E, Thetford Township) for Gibson-Johnson and Borden, Inc. as permit number 1066 in 1930. It took Crude Oil Company three months to drill to 2,503 feet and the hole was abandoned December 26,1930.

Ray Jones almost singlehandedly boosted the Cenesee statistics from 1985 through 1988 when three holes per year were drilled in 1985,1986 and 1988 with one done in 1987. Of those 10 holes, the Midland independent had all but one and added successful wells in the New Lothrup and Otisville Fields.

After a stretch of little drilling and no discoveries in the 1950s and 1960s, Genesee gained a little more interest in the 1970s and 1980s with the jury still out on what the level of activity might be in the 1990s.

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