Manistee County Information

Manistee County

Contact Information

Brad Jenkins

Phone: 617-720-2808

Email: info AT bradfordgordon.com

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Manistee County at a Glance

Total wells drilled through December 31, 1988 1155
Total oil wells drilled through December 31, 1988 301
Total gas wells drilled through December 31, 1988 95
Total facility wells drilled through December 31, 1988 18
Well Density - approximately two wells per square mile (568 square miles in county)
Total cumulative oil and lease condensate production through December 31, 1987 73,551,063*
Total cumulative natural gas production through December 31, 1987 385,357,997*
* From Geological Survey Division Annual Prorated Production Summary.

MANISTEE - Helped by some prolific-producing Niagaran reservoirs, Manistee County has been the State's leader where it counts most - in oil and gas production - posting the top annual output for oil in each of the last 11 straight years (1977- 1987) and for natural gas the past eight years (1980-1987).

A perennial runnerup to Northern Niagaran Reef Trend neighbor Grand Traverse in permits and holes drilled for most of the 1970's and early 1980's, Manistee managed to outshine the rest of the 60 oil-producing counties in both oil and gas for eight straight years and is in the top five all-time for both oil and gas.

All that came about despite the fact that Manistee has no other production except Niagaran and exploration didn't begin in earnest until 1975, after the pinnacle reef reservoirs began to prove productive along a fairway from Presque Isle through Otsego, Kalkaska and Grand Traverse counties.

Through the end of 1973 the cumulative oil production for Manistee County was only 3,281 barrels. In 1974 it grew to 13,076 barrels for the year and by 1975 it hit a million barrels per year at 1,040,939 and then increased five-fold in 1976 at 5,149,841 barrels.

The last year in which Manistee was not the State's oil production leader was 1976 when Otsego held the lead with 6,351,796 barrels or just over a million barrels more than Manistee. Following that Manistee led the State with 6,646,012, 7,978,033, 8,460,019, 7,981,345, 7,427,645, 6,966,356, 6,733,658, 6,075,207, 5,493,911, 5,349,973 and 4,508,266 barrels consecutively in the 11-year span. The 8,460,019 barrels contributed by Manistee in 1979 was a modern record and helped establish Michigan's record production year for oil.

Manistee's rise to the top of the gas- producing list was even quicker after not having any gas marketed until 1975. That year a total of 1,957,137 Mcf was produced and by 1979 Manistee's 34,961,685 Mcf was second only to Grand Traverse's 47,375,339 Mcf.

The new leader as of 1980 with 40,635,624 Mcf was Manistee (G.T. dropped to 38,675,710 that year) and from 1980 through 1987 with output of 41,981,643, 41,892,898, 37,739,098, 36,857,320, 37,621,242, 37,636,295 and 32,816,814 Mcf respectively through that period, after helping set the Michigan gas production record in 1980.

Because many of the Manistee Niagaran reservoirs began producing later than those in Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Otsego the decline in production has not been as dominant in the 1980's.

Another factor in the strong oil and gas showing is the high capability of the reservoirs. Twenty-three different Manistee County fields have produced more than a million barrels of oil each and 89 gas reservoirs have been good for more than a billion cubic feet of natural gas - both figures through the end of 1987 only.

Seven of those gas reservoirs are even more impressive at more than 10 billion each, including the Brown 4-22N-15W at 26,824,193 Mcf, the Bear Lake 24-23N-15W with 22,158,111 Mcf and the Manistee 23-22N-16W at 20,493,427.

Overall, Manistee County has climbed (quickly) to the second spot on Michigan's all-time gas production list and likely may take over the No. 1 spot from Grand Traverse early in the 1990's. Manistee had cumulative gas production of 373,382,344 Mcf to 438,847,526 for G.T. at the end of 1986.

Oil production charts at the end of 1986 had Manistee fourth on the list with 74,908,820 barrels. Just ahead of Manistee were Otsego with 78,413,893 barrels and Midland at 81,152,480. Probably out of reach for the near future is State oil production leader Hillsdale County, which gained considerable oil when all production from the Albion-Scipio Trend, through a 1980 record-keeping change, was credited to the home county of the discovery well - even though many of the wells are in Jackson or Calhoun Counties.

Contrast that to no oil production until 1973 and no natural gas production until 1975 from Manistee County.

A relative newcomer to the nearly 59 year Michigan petroleum history. Manistee County, on the upper northwestern shore line of Michigan's lower peninsula, has come from "ground zero" production just over 10 years ago. to being the production champ annually, producing well over 20 percent of the states annual oil and gas production for six of the last ten years.

Near the southwestern "base" of Northern Michigan Niagaran Fairway trend (the wide band of acreage stretching from the shores of Lake Michigan at Manistee Bounty to Lake Huron at Presque Isle County, which has been responsible for nearly 70 percent of Michigan 's oil and natural gas production for the last decade) Manistee County's spectacular as an oil and gas producing area is only the latest chapter in a long mineral production history.

The salt industry began in Manistee County in 1881 and 27 natural brine wells with 16 solution dining wells (drilled and serviced by the same equipment utilized by the oil and gas industry) provide salt output sufficient to warrant the employment meet of 820 people by four Manistee County salt companies (Morton, Bentron, Hardy and Martin-Marietta).

Manistee County has a longer oil and gas history than most areas of Michigan, but the years simply haven't been as full of activity. The first recorded hole drilled for oil and/or gas in Manistee County was issued in 1927, the first year in which permits were issued when only 16 were logged the first year.

Permit No. 14 was issued to Ruggles and Rademaker for the R. 1 & R. 24 (SE NE, Sec 12, T21N, R17W, Filer Township), almost within the Manistee City Limits. The hole was plugged December, 1928 with no other information available.

Permit No. 282 was issued in 1928 to Fischer-Robbins Oil and Gas Company and then taken over by T.K. Buzard of Clare. The Manistee No. 1 (NE SW, Sec 14, T24N, R16W, Arcadia Township) was a mile southeast of the Village of Arcadia and was spudded in late December, 1928. The hole was drilled to 1,252 feet and cased to the Dundee, but had water problems and was abandoned.

For the next 42 years until the 1970's there were only 22 holes drilled and the lack of success in Manistee County kept interest low key while many other areas of the Michigan Basin saw flurries of activity and development of fields across the middle of the Lower Peninsula.

M.L. Welch & C.K. Lucas made a bid to bring Manistee County into the State production race in 1959 with the Adamczak 1 (SE SE NW, Sec 24, T21N, R17W, Filer Township). The Salina-Niagaran wildcat reached 4,165 feet and tested gas before being abandoned in 1961.

The County's all-time near-miss might have been in 1952 when The Carter Oil Company drilled the Fred Crook 1 (SE NW SW, Sec 35, T24N, R15W, Pleasanton Township) to 4,861 feet and abandoned the hole. In 1982 Miller Brothers came back on the Quillan State Pleasanton 2-35B (BHL: SW NE SE. Sec 35) and discovered a Niagaran reef to open the Pleasanton 35-24N-15W Field, later abandoned 1983 after 1,056 barrels of oil.

The knock on the door that opened the Niagaran in Manistee was delivered by Shell Oil Company in late 1972 with the State Springdale 1-25 (NE NW SE, Sec 25, T24N, R14W, Springdale Township), tested at 400 barrels per day oil as the Springdale 25-24N-14W Field opener.

Although a Pool A was added in 1986, the first Manistee Niagaran reef producer was a one-well field good for 572,509 barrels of oil and 905,074 Mcf natural gas through the end of 1987.

There can be no doubt that the eyes of the Michigan Oilpatch were upon Manistee at that time however and it didn't take long for the County to take a spot among the hottest areas in the State.

In 1973 alone, only a few short months after the first Springdale well, there were nine more fields added and the increased activity and success spawned even more interest and exploration.

When Michigan's Oil & Gas News first profiled Manistee County in March, 1984 there were 130 fields and by the end of 1987 the figure had risen to 164.

Although Shell earned credit for the first Niagaran discovery in the County and has been active since, the Manistee play was a "come one, come all'' rush with Amoco Production Company, Shell and Total Petroleum leading the majors.

The list of independents, both large and small, would fill a full column of this article. With the potential of the Niagaran already proven along the Reef Trend north- east of Manistee County, when it came time to fill out the Trend between Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse County, there was not shortage of companies jumping at the chance to line up a rig and challenge Mother Nature in Manistee County.

Helping Manistee hold its strong position as the State's production leader is the fact that only 21 of the 164 fields have been abandoned through 1987 and 41 of the fields were discovered in 1980 or later.

It didn't take long to outline the Niagaran Reef Fairway in Manistee County, stretching from Manistee Township on the west up through Brown, Bear Lake, Maple Grove and Cleon Townships with some activity in Filer, Onekama, Springdale, Pleasanton and Marilla Townships.

Maple Grove was the site of five of those nine new fields discovered in 1973 with Shell leading the chase in that and other areas.

One unique development was partly within the Manistee City Limits, where Aztec Producing Company made a 1978 gas discovery on the State of Michigan Manistee Unit 1-2 (BHL: SW SW NE, Sec 2, T21N, R17W, Filer Township) tested at more than 5 million cubic feet of gas per day with 25 bpd condensate, but with an H2S content of 78.7 grains per 100 cubic feet.

To treat that gas and gas from subsequent wells in the development, the Manistee Gas Plant was built and began operation in 1981, recently processing gas from nine wells at rates ranging between 6.5 and 9.5 million cubic feet per day with 1000 barrels per day of liquids. The plant quietly went about its operation until May, 1988 when a nipple in a valve ruptured and an explosion damaged a building, but not before a warning system and automatic shutin was activated. By July the plant was back on line.

Even Lake Michigan bottomlands have gotten into the Manistee production picture. From drilling sites located on the shore, rigs have drilled directionally in Section 33 of Filer Township (T21N, R17W) to a bottom hole location in a part of the unit made up of Lake Michigan bottomlands. Both the Lakeland Association 1-32 (BHL: NW SE SE, Sec 32) and the Lakeland Association 1-33 (BHL: SW NE NW, Sec 33) in 1984 and 1985 respectively were for Federated Natural Resources Corporation.

Marilla Township only has two fields discovered through the end of 1988, but all four wells drilled are still producing. The Marilla 6-23N-13W Field was opened in 1977 by Reef Petroleum Corporation's State Marilla 1-6 (NW NW NW, Sec 6, T23N, R13W, Marilla Township), a well affectionately referred to as the "Marilla Gorilla'' for its propensity to produce large amounts of gas, tested at 2.1 million Mcf per day with 80 bpd condensate.

Among the long list of companies pinning down Manistee discoveries or successful development holes are: Miller Brothers, Irv Weitzman, Schmude & Pangborn, PetroStar Energy, Schmude Oil, Dynamic Development, Northern Michigan Exploration Company (NOMECO), Tribal Oil Company, Preston Oil Company, Patrick Petroleum, Energy Acquisition, Delta Oil, Federal Oil. Neyer Oil, Halex, Mack Oil, West Bay, Black River Oil, Golden Petroleum Corporation, George Gordon, Robinson Energy, Getty Oil and others.

One unusual phase of the development in Manistee was Niagaran, but not in the strict sense that exploration has been for pinnacle reef targets along most of the Fairway. In Onekama Township the development is more linear or barrier reef style and produced several good wells through the mid-1980's. Like many other exploration programs, the play wound down in direct proportion to the decreasing crude oil prices and little has been done in that area after oil slipped below $18 per barrel.

Manistee's best bids for non-Niagaran production have been both shallower and deeper, with little real success to date.

Manistee County's only shallow production was in the Bear Lake, Sec. 18 Field, a Traverse formation reservoir discovered by Bob Adams and Associates in 1984. The Maureen Richards 1-18 (NE SE SE, Sec 18, T23N, R15W, Bear Lake Township) tested 5 bpd oil with no water and no gas, but was abandoned in 1985.

The Prairie du Chien deep play made a short stop in Manistee County in 1982 when Gulf Oil Corporation drilled a deep test, and that hole is scheduled for a re-entry and yet another look.

Gulf's USA & State Norman 1-29 (SW SE NW, Sec 29, T21N, R14W, Norman Township) reached 7,400 feet before being deemed dry and abandoned. Now Bob Adams has applied for a permit to re-enter the hole as the State Norman USA 1-29 and drill to 8,000 feet in the Trempealeau Formation.

If the deep play develops in Manistee County it will be icing on the cake after a spectacular run in the Niagaran play has made the county one of the top producing areas of the state. And if it doesn't, there are still enough Niagaran prospects to keep tempting companies for continued development.

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

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