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Ogemaw County Information

Ogemaw County

Contact Information

Brad Jenkins

Phone: 617-720-2808

Email: info AT bradfordgordon.com

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Ogemaw County at a Glance

Total wells drilled through December 31, 1988 943
Total oil wells drilled through December 31, 1988 631
Total gas wells drilled through December 31,1988 36
Total facility wells drilled through December 31, 1988 80
Total dry holes drilled through December 31, 1988 196
Well Density - approximately 1.6 wells per square mile (580-square miles in county)
Total cumulative oil and lease condensate production through December 31, 1986 24,475,594
Total cumulative natural gas production through December 31, 1986 11,257,542

* From Geological Survey Division

WEST BRANCH - Besides a long, illustrious oil and gas history and solid promise of continued attention in the future, the present ranks right up there in terms of exploration excitement for Ogemaw County's fields and vast unexplored areas.

With two large (by Michigan standards) reservoirs dating back to 1933 and 1942 respectively for the West Branch and Rose City Fields, Ogemaw has captured many a headline for oil and gas success, accounting for 631 oil wells and only 196 dry holes in 943 attempts. A success rate of 80 percent can be figured counting 36 gas wells and the 80 service or facility wells.

The statistic of 1.6 wells drilled per square mile average for the county's 580 square miles is deceptive considering that more than 600 wells, or two-thirds of the total, are associated with the Rose City or West Branch Fields. There are only six counties (of 61 with oil and/or gas production in Michigan) with more oil wells.

Now the opportunity to move up among the gas well leaders looms on the horizon, with attention focused both deep, where substantial Prairie du Chien reserves already have been identified, and on a new shallow exploration program aimed at the Antrim, a formation gaming "boom" status 40 miles to the north in Otsego and Antrim Counties.

As if that isn't enough excitement for one county, Ogemaw has an active "middle zone" play in the Amherstburg Formation, which started within the last three years, and lots of acreage available for rank wildcatting.

One key force in the County has been the presence of Marathon Oil Company, which came into Ogemaw in 1941 as part of a purchase deal from Alvin C. Weber - centering around 15 wells in the booming Reed City Field, but also including 24,000 acres of undeveloped leases and 125 wells in the West Branch and Clayton Fields.

Marathon operated then as Ohio Oil Company and soon found that the West Branch buy was a real jewel. Development in the Traverse and Dundee was expanded and then deepenings brought Detroit River Sour Zone and Richfield production in the early 1950's with Marathon leading the way.

It was Marathon and Amoco Production Company on the first deeper pool test to show promise in 1986 and Marathon on the Prairie du Chien Pool opener in 1987. Marathon, with support from Amoco, built a gas processing facility to allow continued expansion of the field and has led the way to six successful deep gas wells to date.

History was made in Ogemaw County, albiet short-lived, with the deepest hole in the state (until replaced by the 17,466-foot effort in Gratiot County in 1975) on a 1964 test by Brazos, Sun and Superior - the State Foster No. 1 (SW SE SE, Sec 28, T24N, R2E, Foster Township). That 12,996 effort in the Rose City Field ranks as one of the State's all-time near-misses and, with some luck, could have opened the deep gas play now active in the 1980's some 20 years earlier.

While the State Foster didn't connect in 1964, Shell Western E & P, Inc. was successful in opening the PdC Pool in 1984 with the State Foster 1-20 (SW NE SE, Sec 20) tested at 6,250 Mcfgas per day with 225 barrels per day (bpd) condensate in 1985. A year later Shell added the State Foster 2-28 (SE NW NE, Sec 28) and then in 1987 the State Foster 1-21 (SW NW SE, Sec 21) was added.

The State Foster 1-21 didn't come on line until January, 1988 and then set a one-year State PdC production record with 3.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas produced by the end of the year for an average of just under 10 million cubic feet per day.

Like the West Branch Field, the deep gas development isn't done yet in the Rose City PdC play and Shell has the State Rose et al 2-27 (SE SW NW, Sec 27, T24N, R2E, Rose Township) at total depth and under 90-day "tite hole" status since reaching td in mid-April.

It's almost surprising that Ogemaw wasn't the first county to boast commercial PdC gas production instead ofMissaukee, two counties to the west. In 1947 Ohio and Pure (Union Oil) drilled a deeper pool test of the West Branch Field with the Reinhardt Construction No. 1 (SE NW NW, Sec 35, T22N, R3E), drilled to 11,012 feet after picking up the PdC at 10,506 feet.

Amoco had a couple shots at deep gas, trying the A.B.G. Hunt Club No. 1 (C NW NE, Sec 28, T23N, R3E, Cumming Township) in 1971 with a 10,193-foot wildcat and then taking a deeper pool shot at the West Branch Field with the 10,622-foot Leon Rau 1-21 (NW NE NW, Sec 21, T22N, R2E) not far from where a deep well produces today.

One of the new deep wildcatting efforts to keep an eye on is PetroStar Energy's Goodar 1-21 (BHL: SW SW NW, Sec 21, T24N, R4E, Goodar Township), spudded May 12 by Dual 35 and aimed at the Trempealeau Formation at 11,350 feet.

PetroStar is no stranger to Ogemaw County and drilled in Cumming Township with the State Cumming 1-35 (NE SW SW, Sec 35) and in Logan with the Pulk 1-17 (SE NW NE, Sec 17) in 1987 and 86 respectively. Both were dry, but extensive completion work was done on the Logan Field deeper pool test before it was plugged and reports filed with the Geological Survey Division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources listed a Gross Pay Interval as "PDC gas 10,361-11,398 feet."

In an April 15,1977 issw of Michigan's Oil & Gas News, contributing columnist Norman X. Lybn wrote, "I suppose for genuine high fever none of Ogemaw County's several deep drillings can match the excitement of 1935 when in Horton Township Fortney Oil Company of Mt. Pleasant punched into a monster flow of Traverse oil. Tank builders working day and night built what amounted to a tank farm in an effort to keep the gushing oil contained. The flow was rated at something like 12,000 barrels a day. The well was finally shut in but litigation came about almost as quickly as the oil (when the State's right to pick up minerals on tax delinquent land was challenged). When the legal battle was finally ended there seemed to be little oil left in the gusher hole. It was high excitement while it lasted." One of "today's" shallow plays which could have a strong impact on future drilling in Ogemaw is PetroStar Energy's confidential wildcat which reached total depth on March 14 and remains under the last 30 days oftite hole. The Katynski 14-20 (SE SE SW, Sec 20, T23N, R3E, Cumming Township) was permitted to the Traverse at 2,100 feet, but was thought, by some geologists, to be a sneak peek at the Antrim Formation. Unconfirmed field reports and a visit to the site reveal completion efforts underway and answers may be forthcoming soon.

Additional interest in the area's shallow potential (or perhaps just an indicator of deeper structure) is shown by PetroStar's Histed 1-22 (SW SW SW, Sec 22, T24N, R4E, Goodar Township) permitted to the Antrim at 2,550 feet on January 18, 1989 and not yet drilled.

The Amherstburg play by Marathon in the West Branch Field drew more than a few raised eyebrows among State geologists and explorationists, but it's Marathon's play to develop at its own pace since the acerage is so tightly held in the Field. Amherstburg oil had been found in only a handful of Michigan Basin wells prior to the Pool's discovery on a deepening of the James and Phyllis Babcock #1 (SE NE SW, Sec 18, T22N. R2E, West Branch Township) in 1986.

Partial credit to the Amherstburg should go to the 1985 V. Nelson 1-26 (SW SE NE, Sec 26) Prairie du Chien wildcat for finding encouraging Amherstburg wells have been completed in Section 18. After one dry hole and one plugged back for a completion in the Richfield, Section 26 finally came through in mid-1988 with the F. Buckingham 6-26 (SE NW SW, Sec 26) tested at 211 bpd oil and 256 Mcfa day gas. The play expanded further with the V. Nelson 2-26 (NE SE SW, Sec 26) completion. Another dry development Amherstburg try was plugged back for a look at the Antrim, but reports to date have not been favorable.

Companies and individuals looking for open areas for exploration shouldn't be discouraged by Ogemaw County's nearly-1,000 holes-drilled figure. Hill Township (T23N, R4E) has no holes, Goodar had only three coming into 1989, Edwards with a four-well field has only 14 holes, Richland has eight counting five associated with the Clayton Field, Klacking has 13 with 10 of those on the edge of the Rose City Field, and Rose (T24N, R3E) with five total and four of those in the Mio Field extending from Oscoda County to the north.

The West Branch Field's PdC play may have found the northwest edge of the Pool with the Hamngton 1-14 (NE NW SE, Sec 14) in Ogemaw Township. Reports are not encouraging on the west offset to the Robinson 1-13 (NW SW NE, Sec 13), which tested 2,865 McF gas per day and 466 bpd condensate.

Deep attention in West Branch now focuses on the other end of the line of productive wells where Marathon has a permit for the C. Husted 1-36 (NE SE NW, Sec 36) in West Branch Township.

Future expansion of the Rose City deep play is expected to move into T24N, R1E of Foster Township after the application by Shell for the Fehn & State Foster 1-12 (NW SW SE, Sec 12).

PetroStar shows up on two other applications in Ogemaw, one for the Bay Development 1-3 (NE NE NE, Sec 3, T21N, R4E, Richland Township) to the Detroit River at 3,200 feet and one for the Ferguson 1-28 (NW NE NE, Sec 28) to the Antrim at 2,550 feet in Goodar Township.

One steadying influence for Ogemaw County's oil and gas production has been the operation of five waterflood secondary recovery units, with another unitized and planned for startup of operations at a future date.

Muskegon Development Company operates the Rose City Waterflood, at 4,600 acres the fourth largest in the State, in addition to the 1,560-acre Rose City Central and the 120-acre West Branch 28 Unit.

Marathon operates the West Branch Unit and the Country Club Unit in the West Branch Field. Sun operates the Rose City West Unit and Muskegon Development has a unitized area in the Rose City Field set up as the Foster 14 unit, but has not begun the flood operations.

The only other oil field in Ogemaw besides the Rose City and West Branch is the Edwards Field, discovered in 1951 on Basin Oil Company's Alexander Winter 1 (NE NE SW, Sec 15, T21N, R1E, Edwards Township) with Dundee production totaling 44,640 through 1986 with three of four wells in the field still producing at that time.

With the addition of the Amherstburg and Prairie du Chien Pools, the West Branch Field is the State's first six-horizon producing reservoir. The field was discovered by Alvin H. Weber, a Bay City construction official, in a deal with Pure Oil Company on the Wilcox 1 (NW NE NW, Sec 34). The Traverse didn't amount to a whole lot, but Pure brought the area to life by deepening a Traverse well for Dundee production and then farmed its entire spread in the area to Weber, whose Weber Oil company dominated the drilling in the area for years.

Even with Weber's strong position, there was plenty of room for development in the more-than-ten-mile-long field. Henry Sappington, McClanahan Oil, Lazy Oil, S.S. Buck, Ralph Nelson, and a host of others joined in the development.

The Rose City Field also was opened by Alvin Weber in 1942 with Detroit River- Richfield production on the State of Michigan F-1 (NW SW NW, Sec 33, T24N, R2E, Foster Township). The post-1939 oil and gas regulation development of Rose City was more orderly on its 40-acre units than the West Branch Field had been on 10's.

With Rose City and West Branch leading the way, Ogemaw sits 14th among the State's oil producing counties with 24,475,594 barrels through 1986.

On the gas side, the only gas pool before the Prairie du Chien development was the Logan Field, with 1,439,600 Mcf credited to the Berea and Weir Formations with statistics available only through 1984. The Berea Pool was opened in 1944 on Sun Oil Company's Holshoe 1 (N SW SE, Sec 17, T22N, R4E, Logan Township) and then a Weir Pool was added by Sun in 1949 on the Charles T. Prescott 1 (NW SE NW, Sec 25).

Ogemaw's position as the 28th ranking gas producer should improve with the addition of the Prairie du Chien production to the Logan Field and gas associated with oil output. Only the Rose City PdC Pool was listed in the latest PdC gas stats (See March 24,1989 MOGN), but the Pool's three deep gas wells did 4,305,363 McF in 1988 alone and another 2,148,487 McF went through the West Branch Gas Plant in 1988, including some from the Clayton Field (which has three wells in Ogemaw County credited to the PdC Pool).

The West Branch Gas Plant was built by Marathon with support from Amoco. The $6.5 million plant can process 20 million cubic feet per day gas and 3,000 bpd condensate.

Even more of a boost to PdC exploration in the area is expected to come in 1990 as a result of Public Service Commission hearings on three pipeline proposals simed at serving deep gas reservoirs with all three proposed to run right through Ogemaw and give much-needed market access. One plan, or possibly a combination if petitioners can agree, is expected to be approved late this year.

Anyone who doesn't think Ogemaw has a rosy future for exploration should look at what companies were willing to pay for acreage at recent State lease sales. The bottom line for Ogemaw County at the March 6 State Lease Sale this year read: 13,008 acres of leases offered, 11,428 acres sold for $3,288,818 and an average per acre of $287.78 for the County.

Ogemaw bidding began hot in Foster Township, T24N, R1E, when American Land Services took over high bid for the sale at $655 per acre in the NW of Section 9. Then Leiand Abel (read that Mobil) took tracts in 9 at $325, $275 and $690 per acre before jumping to $825 and $900 an acre in the NE and NW of Section 10. In Section 11 Abel had bids of $1,250, $1,300, $ 1,450 and the sale high bid of $ 1,600 per acre. Section 12 went between $400 and $1,500 per acre and the rest of Ogemaw saw mostly $20 to $220 bidding.

When Ogemaw County was first the subject of a MOGN Petroleum History Profile in February, 1985, it was predicted that the future was rosy for further "production, secondary recovery and deep exploration" and that prediction continues to ring true.

After 28 holes were drilled in 1987 the figure dropped to nine in 1988 (two oil, five gas and two dry) but already is showing signs of passing last year's figures in 1989.

The scene that perhaps best illustrates how the oil and gas exploration fits in with the Ogemaw County activity is on the northeast edge of West Branch, where the West Branch Country Club golf course and waterflood unit share many acres. Efforts are made to keep oil facilities' presence to a minimum, but it is not uncommon to see a foursome teeing off and have a workover rig in the background or along side the tee.

It's no accident that the West Branch Country Club logo on its hat, shins and other materials depicts an oil pumpjack along with the course name, recognizing the peaceful coexistence as well as the strong contribution made to the course and the county by the oil and gas activities.

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