Newaygo County Information

Newaygo County

Contact Information

Brad Jenkins

Phone: 617-720-2808

Email: info AT bradfordgordon.com

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Newaygo County at a Glance

Total wells completed to July 1, 1989 891
Total oil wells to July 1, 1989 233
Total gas wells to July 1, 1989 63
Total service wells to July 1, 1989 162
178Total dry holes to July 1, 1989
Well density - approximately 1 per square mile (867 square miles in county)
Total cumulative oil production thru March 31,1989* 9,406,639 bbls.
Total cumulative gas production thru March 31,1989* 48,716,354 Mcf

* Note: Total cumulative production figures for both oil and gas contain all-time cumulative through 1986 and prorated deep production through March, 1989 except in Goodwell Field, only available through the end of 1988

WHITE CLOUD - Only halfway through the 1980's, Newaygo County already established this decade as the most significant to date in the 40-plus years of oil and gas exploration and production history for the Western Michigan county.

After joining the state's list of oilproducing counties in the 1940's, Newaygo has had at least one field discovery in each of the last five decades. Of the total 28 established oil and/or gas fields, one-quarter of those (seven) have been discovered in Newaygo in the 1980's.

Part of the special significance of the recent drilling is that Newaygo now has more wells producing from deep formations than any other county in the state. The deep gas exploration is Michigan's newest geological frontier, discovered and first produced in the early 1980's, and Newaygo has been at the forefront of recent exploration success.

Newaygo County currently has seven producing formations listed as geological sources among its 28 fields, dominated by the Traverse Formation with 15 fields. One deep hole theory offered by geologists working in the Michigan Basin (so far holding up with "proof's in the drilling") is that deep structures holding natural gas are flagged by field producing from upper structures, giving Newaygo County added merit for further deep exploration in view of its proliferation of "shallower plays."

The introduction to the producing oil and gas industry was a little later in Newaygo than for surrounding counties, but when it came in 1943, it came in a big way. First Ohio Oil Company discovered the Vaughan 1 (S NE NE, Sec 29, T15N, R11W, Norwich Township), a well called "the year's hottest play" and "a high prospect which has attracted more attention than any other wildcat drilled in the basin this year" by the Oil & Gas News issues of that year. On the heels of that discovery Taggart Brothers Company completed the Goodrich G-1 (SE SE SW, Sec 5, T14N, R11W, Goodwell Township) for gas from the Michigan Stray and then found oil in deeper formations.

The 1940's saw seven fields discovered followed by Newaygo County's best decade to date when nine fields were discovered in the 1950's. Exploration dropped off to registerjust four discoveries in the 1960's and one new field in the 1970's before the pace quickened in the 1980's.

Newaygo ranks 25th among the state's oil producing counties with 8,932,207 barrels of oil produced through 1982. Gas production takes 26th place on the list with 13.4 billion cubic feet through the same year, but both figures will rise significantly based on activity through the first five years of the 1980's.

Newaygo is the fourth largest county in the Lower Peninsula, with 867 square miles and is relatively unexplored with well density averaging less than one well per square mile. Neighboring counties ofMuskegon, Oceana, Osceola, Mecosta and Montcalm each have average well density of two wells per square mile.

One reason Newaygo County has not climbed higher on the production lists is that most fields have been small (nine one-well fields) and 13 have been abandoned.

The biggest field in Newaygo County is the Kimball Lake field in Garfield Township with 106 wells drilled and oil and gas production of 6,233,619 barrels and 2,111,585 Mcf respectively. The next largest reservoir is the Goodwell Field's Traverse Pool with 31 wells and oil output of 1,141,184 barrels through 1982.

The deep scene is nothing new, for Newaygo, grabbing the spotlight as early as 1933, when Newaygo Gas and Oil Company gained national attention by setting a new Michigan drilling depth mark of 6,418 feet on a wildcat, the Bates 1, in section 12 of Sheridan Township, breaking the old mark of 6,310 feet set by Michigan Petroleum Company in Ottawa County in 1930. Both were drilled with cable tools. Just when Michigan's new deep gas play seemed to be going nowhere more than a year after the 1982 announcement of the first Prairie du Chien discovery, a small independent company from Flint ran a seismic line through Western Michigan and chose a site in Goodwell Township of Newaygo County for its first deep test.

On a dark, cloudy night in late May, 1983 gas flared from nearly 8,000 feet beneath the Newaygo County farm of Merle Anderson lit up the skies for Jennings Petroleum Corporation. From that spectacular beginning, the last half of the decade of the 1980's saw Newaygo lead Michigan's deep gas exploration in nearly every category.

The Anderson 1-8A (Surf: NE NE NE, Sec 8, T14N, R1 1W, Goodwell Township) tested gas at rates up to 10 Mmcf a day from the PdC and also discovered production from the Clinton zone in the middle Silurian period with rates up to 4 Mmcf a day. The Clinton proven production was among the first discovered in Michigan, (following 1983 Osceola and Alpena County discoveries) and gave that Formation added status as a potential target of interest in the state.

Besides the Traverse Formation and Reed City Formation oil, the Goodwell Field has a Michigan Stray gas storage reservoir and now three wells in the Clinton and two in the Prairie du Chien. Two wells produce both formations through the same wellbore from separate strings of tubing, another first for Michigan.

Jennings reversed the theory of drilling through known producing structures in drilling its Hudson 1 -35 (SW SW SW, Sec 35, T15N, R11W, Norwich Township) in 1985. Not only was the deep discovery well completed in two deep zones (5,000 Mcf and 20 bpd condensate in the Upper Prairie du Chien and 3,000 Mcf and 10 bpd condensate in the Lower PdC), but shows were found in the upper formations which led to the drilling of a shallow pool test for possible field development.

The Kailing 1 -35 (SW SW NE, Sec 35) was drilled in late 1985 as a shallow pool test of the Bisel Lake Field discovered by the Hudson and is proving to be a small oil producer from the Traverse. Wolverine Gas and Oil Company, Inc. of Grand Rapids found what may be the largest PdC reservoir to date in Newaygo in mid- 1985 working in cooperation with Grace Petroleum Corporation on the Jansma 1-29 (SW NE NE, Sec 29) two miles northeast of the Hudson. The Jansma well tested 6.2 Mmcfgas and 130 bpd ofcondensate from the PdC.

An offset to the Jansma well, the Altman 1-20 (NW SW SE, Sec 20) has proven successful and a spacing order was issued in December, 1985 (See MOGN January 3, 1986 - ed.) allowing 320-acre units for 11 square miles of the Woodville Field's PdC reservoir.

Newaygo has the most successful deep gas wells (18) confirmed, with another one still "tite hole" and yet another drilling ahead; the most fields (9); the largest field in terms of well numbers (Woodville with 7 producing wells ties the Clayton Field in Arenac County); the most production from deep formations for natural gas (30,356,921 billion cubic feet through the March, 1989 except in the Goodwell Field figured only through the end of 1988); the most gas output from a field (Woodville with 20,021, 441 Mcf through March, 1989); the largest producing single well, the Anderson 1-8A (SL: NE NE, NE, Sec 8, T14N, R11W, Goodwell Township) at 6,192,375 Mcf through March, 1989; and a host of other "firsts" or "bests" too numerous to mention.

Newaygo also is a leader in solving some of the deep gas riddles which so frustrated early deep gas exploration companies. When it appeared that deep gas reservoirs might only be found under shallower producing structures, Jennings struck again in Newaygo County with a discovery on the Hudson 1-35 (SW SW SW, Sec 35, T15N, R11W, Norwich Township), the State's first "New Field Wildcat" for the deep play.

Now Newaygo exploration is proving up the premise that smaller Prairie du Chien reservoirs can be (and are) located in close proximity to but not communicating with larger ones. The Woodville Field is the best example, with the Hudson 1-35 and another development well making up the Bisel Lake Field PdC reservoir only a mile and a half southeast of the nearest Woodville deep well. To the northeast a little over a mile Newaygo is PetroStar Energy's Norwich 1-22 (BHL: SE NE NE, Sec 21, T15N, Rl 1W, Norwich Township) tested at 10 Mmcf a day gas from two zones earlier this year.

Further southeast of the Hudson 1-35, Wolverine Gas and Oil Company's Daniels 1-1A (BHL: NW NE SW, Sec I, T14N, R11W, Goodwell Township) was completed for gas in early 1987 and first credited to the Bisel Lake Field. The Daniels 1-1A became a discovery well of the Betts Creek Field PdC and Clinton reservoirs when three dry holes were drilled between the structures.

Now Wolverine Gas and Oil has asked the Supervisor of Wells for a spacing exception to Special Order 1-86 to drill a PdC prospect in Section 11 of Goodwell Township, less than two miles southwest of the Daniels 1-1A. Wolverine is a Newaygo success story already after discovering the Woodville Field in 1985.

Newaygo County recently raised some eyebrows in the industry when the Shell Western E & P, Inc. announcement on its Croton Field PdC discovery reported a calculated absolute open flow potential of 183 million cubic feet natural gas per day, one of the strongest gas flows tested on Michigan Ordovician Prairie du Chien holes.

The recent lease sale bids have reflected both an interest and a lack of same, depending on the areas where acreage up for bid was located. At the March, 1989 sale three straight parcels of 80 acres or more in pans of Sections 17, 18 and 33 of Monroe Township drew $150 per acre each. The low bid of nine parcels in Newaygo County was $25 per acre in part of Section 2 of Norwich Township and two tracts in Section 33 of Home Township went for $80 and $130 per acre. Bidders included: Union Pacific Resources, Marathon Oil Company, Miller Brothers Co-partnership and Peninsular Oil and Gas Company.

Because much of the Newaygo deep play was drilled before widespread knowledge of the six or more zones in the Glenwood and below was expanded, some of the early holes just penetrated only an Upper Prairie du Chien or St. Peter Sandstone pay. Jennings is testing the idea that the Goodwell Field's producing zones may be underlain by deeper producing zones with its Michigan Consolidated Gas Company 2-8 (BHL: SE SW NE, Sec 8), currently testing but under "tite hole" status.

Newaygo has Michigan's southernmost producing Prairie du Chien well in Northern Michigan Exploration Company's (NOMECO) Butler & Highland 1-7 (SE SW NE, Sec 7, T11N, R11W, Ensley Township), tested at 6.6 Mmcfgas per day with 202 bpd condensate.

The State's most westerly producing deep gas well also is claimed by Newaygo County in Denver Township, where a deeper pool test of the Huber Field by Terra Energy resulted in PdC wells in Sections 5 and 9.

With 867 square miles in the 24 townships in Newaygo County, and average well density of one per square mile, there is plenty of area not yet well explored. Most of the drilling in the county was for Traverse production in the 1940's and 1950's. More than 100 of the 891 holes drilled through the end of June, 1989 were in the Kimball Lake Field in Garfield Township (T12N, R13W).

Another play which got a shot in the arm via Newaygo exploration success was the Clinton, which has produced in both the Goodwell and Huber Fields.

Newaygo County is truly an exploration area of the 1980's, with nine of the 30 fields listed on Geological Survey Division records credited as discovered from 1980-89. After first joining the State's oil and gas producing county list in the 1940's Newaygo has had at least one field discovery in each of the last five decades.

The 1940's saw seven fields discovered followed by Newaygo County's best decade to date when nine fields were discovered in the 1950's. Exploration dropped off to register just four discoveries in the 1960's and one new field in the 1970's before the pace quickened in the 1980's.

Newaygo ranks 25th among the State's oil producing counties with just over 9 million barrels to date and not climbing very fast. Natural gas production is a different matter. Newaygo had only 13.4 billion cubic feet produced through the end of 1982 and the Woodville and Goodwell PdC Pools alone produced more than double that total (See deep gas production charts, pages 64 and 65 of July 28, 1989 issue of Michigan's Oil & Gas News) with 27,938,186 billion cubic feet between late 1985 and early 1989.

The new deep wells should help a surge to the top ten for Newaygo and additional exploration could result in further advances on the gas production list.

With its track record in the 1980's and its proven deep reserves to combine with vast tracts of undrilled areas, Newaygo County may continue its reign as Michigan's leading deep gas producing area.

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