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|Total holes drilled through June 30, 1990||1,146|
|Total oil wells drilled June 30, 1990||833|
|Total natural gas wells through June 30, 1990||4|
|Total Facility wells through June 30, 1990||7|
|Total dry holes through June 30, 1990||302|
|Well density - approximately two per square mile (512 square miles in county)|
|Total cumulative oil and condensate production through December 31, 1988||38,449,133 bbls.*|
|Total cumulative natural gas production through December 31, 1988||1,581,931 mcf*|
* - Includes only pro-rated production beyond December 31, 1986 (last cumulative figures available by county).
GLADWIN - Like many of Michigan's early oilpatch giants whose then prolific production was overshadowed during the seventies by the "supergrowth" counties along the Niagaran Reef Trend Counties north and south, Gladwin County comes to the mid-eighties close to the top of the list of exploration areas in the newspeak of the state's deep gas new frontier.
Even without the present day focus in the broadening deep gas search, Gladwin County counts high in the ranks of Michigan oilpatch giants.
America's oil and gas industry was already 75 years old ... Michigan's first recorded production had occurred 48 years before ... and Michigan had been classed as a commercially producing oil state for nearly a decade when the Beaverton I I oilfield discovery of 1934 in the Dundee geological zone at 3,929 feet put Gladwin County in the ranks of Michigan oil producers. The decade of the thirties would see five more Dundee field discoveries for Gladwin County, including the 1936 discovered Buckeye North Field, the county's biggest, which had produced all-time more than 20 million barrels of oil through the end of 1982.
Of the seventy-three Michigan counties explored for oil and gas through 100 years, more than 40,000 drilling permits and well over 38,000 holes, Gladwin County (about middle finger near the thumb joint of the Michigan Lower Peninsula "mitten") is sixty-seventh largest in terms of land area (327,680 acres, 512 square miles). In terms of raw success rate, however, Gladwin County has been nearly phenomenal with 816 oil wells, three gas wells and 297 dry holes, the result of 1,116 holes drilled (a 73.47 percent success rate), resulting in 32 fields (31 oil, 1 gas) from the Berea, Dundee, Traverse, Richfield, Detroit River Sour zone and, very recently, the Prairie du Chien from depths ranging mostly from 2,126 feet to 5.039 feet, with the recent Prairie du Chien discovery adding a new production depth record for the county of 11,349 feet.
Although drilling in the county has slowed in recent years, Gladwin still ranks fourth highest in oil wells of any county in Michigan with 833 - trailing only Allegan, Midland and Isabella.
Those oil wells helped account for production of 38,449,138 ban-els of oil through 1988, counting all production through 1986 and only prorated (in Gladwin County's case only deep condensate) for 1987 and 1988, for a ranking of 10th in all-time Michigan oil production.
Michigan's hydrocarbon emphasis currently is on gas exploration and production, with great strides made both in shallow and deep plays. Gladwin has been and can be expected to be in on the deep gas play.
After the first Prairie du Chien gas well was completed by Amoco Production Company in 1984 on the Letts Unit 2-36 (SE SE SW, Sec 36, T18N, R1W, Buckeye Township), one deep gas well per year was completed in 1987, 1988 and 1989. The 1989 well was PetroStar Energy's Grout 1-14 (NW NW SE, Sec 14, T18N, R2W, Grout Township), the discovery well of the Grout Field's Prairie du Chien Pool. Two development holes have been added to the Buckeye South PDC Pool since the Letts 1-36.
That isn't a surge of deep drilling, but it has helped Gladwin's gas production rise from a cumulative figure of only 9,781 Mcf through 1984 to 1,581,931 Mcf by the end of 1988 for a 40th ranking among the 49 counties with gas production.
Despite the high number of total wells drilled at 1,146, many areas of Gladwin County have not been heavily explored. The large concentration of wells in the Buckeye North (304) and Buckeye South (256) account for more than half of the oil wells in the county and especially the northern townships (see map) have large, undrilled areas.
Of the 33 reservoirs or pools discovered in Gladwin, eight have been abandoned. The producing formations range from the Berea with the pay as shallow as 2,142 feet in the Billings Field through Traverse, Dundee, Detroit River Sour Zone and Richfield on down to the Prairie du Chien with a pay zone beginning at 11,349 feet in Buckeye South's PDC Pool.
Gladwin County wasted no time in joining Michigan's oil producing ledger, starting the first oil flows in 1934 when M.F. Whitehill, Sr. of Washington, Pennsylvania connected on the Omer Kitner No. 1 (CS NW NW, Sec 11, T17N, R2W, Beaverton Township) for Dundee oil. A note on the well card in MOGN files reports that the driller "let it stand and it drilled itself in" with 40 barrels production in the first 24 hours.
Before the 1930's had elapsed five more fields had been found and much of the activity in the county turned to development drilling, heavily concentrated on the Buckeye North Field with its production through 1986 of 20,909,734 barrels of oil and on the Buckeye South where the Dundee and Traverse Pools produced 5,399,778 barrels and Berea and Detroit River Sour zones added another 373,754 barrels through 1986.
Other fields over the million barrel mark are: Skeels (partly in Clare County) 1,012,549, Grout 2,024,567, Bentley 3,379,225 and Beaverton South 1,890,755 barrels.
Because Gladwin's heritage is so strongly oil, there is no pipeline system for delivery of gas to market. That, along with the deeper than average footage to the deep gas pays in the county, may have discouraged Prairie du Chien gas drilling to date in the area while surrounding counties (especially Arenac and Ogemaw to the north and east. Midland to the south and Clare to the west) saw considerable deep drilling and success in the last half of the 1980's.
When the 1984 Letts 2-36 was completed it tested 4.4 million cubic feet natural gas and 72 barrels of condensate daily as only the fifth proven PDC producer in the State. As early as 1982 Hunt Energy Corporation went to 15,859 feet in drilling what is the second deepest hole in the State on the Martin 1-15 (NE NW NE, Sec 15, T17N, R1E, Billings Township), but was dry.
While waiting for expansion of the deep drilling play or further shallow exploration, Gladwin County can keep busy with its more than 200 producing wells keeping its spot among the State's leading oil producing areas.
Selected materials on this page copyright 1991 by Michigan Oil & Gas News, Incorporated.
© Copyright 2006 Bradford Gordon Inc. All rights reserved.