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Kalkaska County Information

Kalkaska County

Contact Information

Brad Jenkins

Phone: 617-720-2808

Email: info AT bradfordgordon.com

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Kalkaska County at a Glance

Total wells drilled through December 31, 1987 772
Total oil wells drilled through December 31, 1987 200
Total gas wells drilled through December 31, 1987 98
Total facility wells drilled through December 31, 1987 32
Total dry holes drilled through December 31, 1987 442
Well density - approximately one well per square mile (573 square miles in county)
Total cumulative oil and lease condensate production through June 30, 1987 *43,461,851 bbls.*
Total cumulative natural gas production through June 30, 1987 *334,055,325 Mcf.*

* Compiled from Geological Survey Division cumulative and prorated production statistics.

KALKASKA - The climb of Kalkaska County among Michigan's oil and gas leaders continues, riding the steady flow of Northern Niagaran Reef Trend production while expanding the hydrocarbon potential with the introduction of new horizons.

The Northern Niagaran pinnacle Reef Trend runs across the northern half of Kalkaska County and accounts for 151 of the 156 fields (see pages 28 and 29 for listings) in the county. More than 95 percent of the 772 holes drilled through the end of 1987 in the 573 square miles of the county were targeted to the Niagaran.

The Niagaran boom of the late 1960's, 1970's and well into the 1980's skyrocketed Kalkaska to a position as the third leading natural gas producer all-time in Michigan at more than 330 billion cubic feet by the mid 1987 and to the eighth highest output of oil production with more than 43 million barrels - passing many counties where production had been established many years before.

Kalkaska was first featured as a Petroleum History Profile in the September 28, 1984 issue of Michigan's Oil & Gas News. Nearly five years of additional well data is available for this article and more than 30 new fields have been discovered in Kalkaska in that span, again mostly Niagaran but with two new plays in the northeastern and southwestern corners of the county.

The Antrim Formation shallow gas play which has been so prolific in number of wells drilled in Otsego County just to the northeast was expanded into Kalkaska's Blue Lake Township by SRW, Inc. in late 1987. The Mt. Pleasant company has 10 wells and a brine disposal well which went on line earlier this month. Northern Michigan Exploration Company has begun an Antrim gas play in Kalkaska Township (T27N, R8W). Much of the Niagaran Trend production area is now serviced by a pipeline system, heralding potential for further Antrim exploration.

EPS Resources has been developing a Traverse Formation gas reservoir first discovered by JEM Petroleum and Willmet in mid-1982. Later in 1982 EPS took over and built a plant for processing and sweetening the sour gas from the Traverse allowing production to begin with three wells on line in September, 1986. The three wells made 160 million cubic feet of gas through April, 1987.

EPS now may extend the Antrim play southward, according to an application to change well status on the Ingersoll 31-31 (SW NW NE, Sec 31, T25N, R8W, Springfield Township) for a proposed rework including perforating the Antrim between 2,220 and 2,308 feet, acidizing and doing a fracjob. The Traverse test was drilled in June,1988.

Union Oil continues to expand the Beaver Creek Field into the southeastern comer of the county, with two permits active for Richfield holes in the SE of Section 21, T25N, R5W, Garfield Township.

Kalkaska has had at least a temporary lull in deep activity, but continued seismic in areas off the Northern Niagaran Trend indicate some interest possibly in deep targets in the southern half of the county, similar to acreage which has yielded deep gas wells on the inside of the Reef Trend in Alpena and Montmorency counties.

Only three counties saw more drilling in 1987 than Kalkaska, where 28 holes resulted in one oil well, four gas wells and nine more cased (mostly Antrim holes waiting on hookup).

Kalkaska County remains one of contrasts, with the Northern Reef Trend townships of Blue Lake (T28N, R5W), Cold Springs (28N, R6W), Rapid River (T28N, R7W), Kalkaska (T27N, R8W and T27N, R7W) and Excelsior (T27N, R6W) accounting for more than 90 per cent of the drilling in the county.

Right below Excelsior Township in Orange Township (T26N, R7W) there has been only one hole drilled and Oliver just to the east has only five holes drilled. Clearwater Township (T28N, R8W) in the northwest comer of Kalkaska County also has been largely ignored as a hydrocarbon exploration target with only four holes drilled.

The first hole among Michigan's Oil & Gas News records for Kalkaska County was in 1940 when Monarch Development Company had a Leonard Drilling rig on the Antrim Iron Company No. 1 (C SE, Sec 16, T28N, R7W, Rapid River Township) for a 1,609-foot dry hole.

The first year of Niagaran production in Kalkaska was in 1970, with five Niagaran fields credited to that year, starting with Pan American Petroleum's Gombein, Friedman & Simpson No. 1 (S SW SW, Sec 21, T28N, R6W, Cold Springs Township) tested in February, 1970 at 324 barrels per day oil on a 16/64th choke.

The key to unlocking the Niagaran in Kalkaska and much of the Northern Reef Trend may have come two years earlier when Pan American took the first serious (in acreage leased and drilled) look at the Northern Lower Peninsula. Pan American moved to Joe Moore's rotary rig onto the State Blue Lake No. 1 (S S NE, Sec 1, T28N, R5W, Blue Lake Township) in 1968 and the 7,140-foot hole was finally abandoned, but not before oil and gas shows and considerable cores and testing.

Shell Oil Company had permitted a Niagaran test to 7,500 feet in section 24 of Blue Lake Township in 1969, but never drilled the wildcat. None-the-less Shell, operating in Michigan today as Shell Western E & P, Inc., was among the exploration leaders in the early 1970's and has continued to be the busiest operator in the county through much of the late 1970's and early 1980's.

Amoco Production Company was another big player, and the list of independents look like a who's, who of the Michigan oilpatch with more than 100 independent companies operating Kalkaska holes, mostly aimed at the Niagaran.

Kalkaska's first production and first field came in 1950 when Neil Wagenaar and Edward Wagner, two of the early explorationists in Kalkaska's history, completed the Boy Scouts of American-Marshall No. 1 (SE SW SE, Sec 11, T27N, R6W, Excelsior Township) for 10 barrels per day from the Traverse.

Following that lead. Sun Oil Company tried the Traverse on the State Excelsior A-1 (SE SE SE, Sec 11) in January, 1951 and Wagenaar and Wagner joined with Roosevelt Oil for a Duncan & Gustafson No. 1 (SW NE SW, Sec 11) in April, 1951 but both were dry and the one-well field produced only 10,455 barrels of oil before being abandoned in 1970.

There are more than 20 wells in the Richfield zone located in Kalkaska County's Garfield Township (T25N, R5W) credited to Crawford County's Beaver Creek Field and the Cannon Creek Field from Missaukee County extends into Garfield (T25N R6W and R7W) Township from the south.

The largest Niagaran reservoir in Kalkaska is the Rapid River 24-28N-7W discovered by Pan American in 1970 on the State Rapid River 1-24 (SW SE SW, Sec 24) drilled beginning November 16, 1970. The reservoir has had 14 wells completed and 13 were producing at the end of June, 1987. Production from the reservoir has been 28,804,405 Mcf gas and 1,963,360 barrels of crude oil through June, 1987. Pool A was added in 1972 and accounted for 129,841 barrels of oil and 47,584 Mcf natural gas through June, 1987.

Kalkaska 24-27N-8W has one of the higher per acre crude oil recovery totals for the state with 8,779 barrels per acre recovered from two wells on 160 acres in the reservoir from 1973 through June, 1987. One of the more prolific producers is the Kalkaska 21-27N-8W Field, discovered in 1971 by Northern Michigan Exploration Company (NOMECO) and credited with production through June, 1987 of 6,999,916 barrels of crude oil and 10,762,367 Mcf gas including totals from the Pools A, C and D after conversion to secondary recovery.

Kalkaska County boasts nearly 30 billion cubic feet of gas storage space, with four reservoirs convered in 1980, one each in Cold Springs, Excelsior, Kalkaska and Rapid River.

Shell and Amoco have gas processing plants just south of Kalkaska sitting along the wetheader pipeline system which serves as the main artery for Niagaran Reef Trend production from Manistee County on the west and Presque Isle County on the northeast.

Thanks largely to its location nearly midway across the Niagaran reef trend and close proximity to so much production, Kalkaska has a hub of oilfield service, offering many types of oilfield service and supply for the maintenance of wells and exploration and drilling ventures.

With the more than 30 Niagaran discoveries in the past five years, the strong potential of the Antrim to expand across much of the county and the untested potential of the Prairie du Chien and other deep formations, Kalkaska County can look to a busy future of remaining one of the leading counties in Michigan for oilfield activity.

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