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Iosco County Information

Iosco County

Contact Information

Brad Jenkins

Phone: 617-720-2808

Email: info AT bradfordgordon.com

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Iosco County at a Glance

Total wells drilled through December 1989 38*
Total oil wells drilled through December 1989 0
Total gas wells drilled through December 1989 6
Total facility wells drilled through December 1989 0
Total dry holes drilled through December 1989 31
Well Density - approximately one well per 14 square miles (563 square miles in county)
Total cumulative oil or lease condensate production through December 31, 1989 44,908 bbls.
Total cumulative natural gas production through March 31, 1990 1,855,293 Mcf

* - Total wells drilled figure includes one 1989 well production cased but not confirmed as commercially productive or dry at press time.

HALE - Playing the role of an oil industry bridesmaid well into the decade of the 1980s after its neighbors to the south and west (Arenac and Ogemaw Counties) had been firmly established as oil producing centers since the early to mid-1930s, east-central Lower Peninsula Michigan's losco County has now claimed a certain degree of prominence despite being able to boast of only three confirmed producing reservoirs.

Sparsely drilled save for a smattering of primarily Devonian-age tests drilled from 1936 until 1968, well density was only one well per 14 square miles at the end of 1989. losco County was drilled only once in the period of nearly 20 years from 1968 to 1986, when the county's current principal developer, PetroStar Energy, put down a Prairie du Chien deep test in Section 24 of Grant Township, T22N, R6E.

The county's first deep basin penetration was non-commercial, but PetroStar tried again a year later and approximately eight miles to the west at the site of its Reno 1 -27 (SE NW SE, Sec 27, T22N, R5E, Reno Township.

The 11,807-foot hole made history in more ways than one for the Traverse City based independent. First and foremost, it became the county's first commercially productive oil or gas well, making losco the sixty-first of Michigan's 67 Lower Peninsula counties to give up commercial quantities of oil or gas.

The wildcat also has the unique distinction of being the first deep basin test to usher its county into the state's roster of producing areas. If all that weren't enough, the Reno 1-27's completion and initial testing phases showed it to be productive of both oil (220 barrels daily) and gas (3 million cubic feet daily) in separate and distinct producing horizons not in communication with each other within the Ordovician Prairie du Chien.

Earlier deep discovery wells in the Kawkawlin (Bay County), Clayton (Arenac County) and Rose City (Ogemaw County) Fields had encountered relatively low gravity hydrocarbon liquids in commercial quantities, but PetroStar became the first to seek and be granted field-wide, 640-acre spacing for production of Prairie du Chien oil, with SpecialOrder 1-86, the statewide deep spacing order, having addressed deep gas production only.

PetroStar was granted authority to produce oil and gas zones simultaneously in wells in the field, but not allowed to commingle production. Casing program limitations prevented simultaneous production in the discovery well and PetroStar chose to produce the shallower gas zone only initially.

Development success in the reservoir has proven to be spotty, with successful offsets drilled to the southeast (Reno 1-26A) and south (Reno 1-34) of the discovery, while west and northwest offset tries in Sections 33 and 28, respectively, were dry. PetroStar made an attempt in early 1990 to introduce a second producing horizon by testing its State Reno 1-33 deep test in the Salina A-1 Carbonate, but plugged the hole when test results were non-commercial.

Almost three years after bringing in the Reno discovery well, PetroStar repeated the feat by drilling and completing the State Burleigh 1-35 (SW NW NW, Sec 35, T21N, R5E, Burleigh Township) as a Prairie du Chien oil discovery (testing at 240 barrels daily), with drill stem testing of a shallower Prairie du Chien interval reportedly showing it capable of up to 5 million cubic feet gas daily.

A Supervisor of Wells Order is pending on PetroStar's mid-1990 petition requesting establishment of seven 640-acre Prairie du Chien oil drilling units and a provision for a second oil well on each unit in the area of the Burleigh discovery. A Prairie du Chien lateral hole has been staked as a northwest offset to the State Burleigh 1-35 by PetroStar. At latest report, a drilling permit had not been issued for the proposed State Burleigh 1-26 HD-1 (SL: NW SW SW, Sec 26), projected to be drilled nearly 2,000 feet laterally.

PetroStar became the first to attempt lateral drilling in a deep basin test earlier when it abandoned a Riverside Prairie du Chien Pool development test after building to an angle of only 76 degrees to vertical in Missaukee County.

The third and latest Prairie du Chien discovery completed by PetroStar Energy in losco County followed closely on the heels of the State Burleigh 1-35, but unfortunately was not nearly as prolific on initial production test as either the Reno opener or the Burleigh discovery.

The State Sherman 1-16 (NE SW NE, Sec 16, T21N, R6E, Sherman Township) was flowed at rates of 900 Mcf gas daily from a lower Prairie du Chien interval in February 1990. Producing interval was near the bottom of the well's reported gross pay interval of 10,396 to 11,652 feet, with perforations made from 11,507 to 11,515 feet (-9,831 to -9,839 feet subsea).

Status of the latest deep wildcat drilled in losco County was not known at press time, with the State Plainfield 1-34 (SE NE NE, Sec 34, T23N, R5E, Plainfield Township), under the joint operatorship of Atlantic Richfield Company and PetroStar, reportedly reaching total depth early this week and being logged at press time.

Just how natural gas will eventually make its way to market from the Burleigh and Shennan discoveries and possible development wells will apparently hinge on the outcome of a series of hearings currently being conducted at the Michigan Public Service Commission. Saginaw Bay Pipeline Company, Oryx Energy and Marathon Oil Company have each proposed to build pipelines to serve those areas and producing reservoirs to the south in Arenac County (see story, page 14, September 28, 1990 Michigan Oil & Gas News for a more detailed look at the situation), the Reno production is already being produced into Michigan Consolidated Gas Company's Alpena Lateral, a 16-inch transmission line in that area.

Another exploration play in losco County that appeared to be ready to take off' but now seems more reminiscent of previous unsuccessful Devonian exploration efforts is a series of Antrim Shale tests drilled near PetroStar deep wells in Reno and Plainfield Townships and in a virtually undrilled area in the county's northern region in Oscoda Township.

Ward Lake Drilling reportedly had tested small amounts of Antrim gas before eventually plugging one wildcat each in Oscoda Townships, T24N, R6E & R7E. Also plugged was a 1989 wildcat drilled by Antrim Development further east in Oscoda Township, T24N, R8E. Conclusive results are not known on any of the shallow PetroStar holes, but none are believed to have been commercial in nature.

The pattern of early losco drilling was much like that of last year's short-lived Antrim play, with the 23 permitted oil and gas tests drilled from 1936 to 1968 operated by 17 different companies. Most penetrated either the Dundee or Detroit River Group and none apparently yielded significant enough shows to warrant more aggressive drilling programs.

Approximately twice as many shallow core tests or geologic tests (usually drilled just to bedrock at depths of 1,000 feet or less) were drilled as permitted oil and gas tests, the vast majority of them between 1943 and 1950, according to Geological Survey Division records.

It may not be a coincidence that the companies who conducted the bulk of the core drilling, including majors Ohio Oil, Gulf, Sun and Pure, were nowhere to be seen in the list of those drilling the oil and gas tests, possibly indicating they saw little promise in Devonian horizons there.

It appears for the time being that future exploration and development in losco County will be aimed at the deep horizons, with offsetting locations currently staked or permitted near the Shennan and Burleigh discoveries and a potential follow-up to the Plainfield Township deep test permitted as well.

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