Osceola County Information

Osceola County

Contact Information

Brad Jenkins

Phone: 617-720-2808

Email: info AT bradfordgordon.com

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Osceola County at a Glance

Total wells drilled through December 1989 1,141
Total oil wells drilled through December 1989 349
Total natural gas wells drilled through December 1989 150
Total facility wells drilled through December 1989 205
Total dry holes through December 1989 437
Well density - approximately two wells per square mile (585 square miles in county)
Total cumulative oil and lease condensate production through December 31, 1986 59,564,641 bbls.
Total natural gas production through December 31, 1986 53,433,504 Mcf

REED CITY - Osceola County has been at the forefront of Michigan oil and gas activity several times through the past 46 years, highlighted by the extensive development of the Reed City Field in the 1940's and 50's and the county is now the state's leader in the deep gas play of the 1980's.

It was the Reed City Field discovery in 1940 which first put Osceola County onto Michigan's list of 60 oil and/or gas producing counties and before the 1940's were over a busy exploration program aimed at the northwest corner county of the Michigan Basin had discovered 14 fields in the 10- year span.

Continued exploration through the next 36 years added 18 more fields for a total of 32 and helped Osceola take fifth place on the state production list for oil with 57,051,907 barrels through 1984 and 11th in gas production with 45,426,029 Mcf through 1984.

While the 1940's were Osceola County's heyday for drilling, the 1980's continue to heat up and the decade is well on its way to becoming the most important in the county's history of oil and gas development.

Osceola County made Michigan production history as the site of Michigan's first Clinton Formation gas production, discovered in late 1982 on a hole drilled by Willmet Incorporated with PPG Industries support. The deeper pool test of the Hersey Field was completed in the Clinton for test output of 1.4 million cubic feet of gas a day on the Gray 1-31 (NE NW NW, Sec 31, T17N, R8W, Evart Township). Development of the gas zone has resulted in nine producing Clinton wells with production through January 1, 1986 of nearly three billion cubic feet of gas (2,965,643 Mcf).

PPG's interest in Michigan came partly because of a desire to find large deposits of potash for a possible solution mining project and Osceola County is progressing toward becoming the first location in the United States (and one of the few in the world) to produce potash (used extensively in fertilizers) through solution mining.

Michigan's deep gas play is still in late infancy, but the search for gas from depths of 9,500 to 11,000 feet in most parts of the Michigan Basin has attracted the interest from producers already active in the state and brought in companies from several other states.

Osceola is no newcomer to deep drilling and had a much-watched hole in 1949 which reached 8,917 feet and encountered some deep gas, at a time when low market prices made it less than attractive to complete. Ohio Oil Company drilled the P.N. Stedman 3 (C NW NW, Sec 29) in Lincoln Township with a Lupher Drilling rig handling the job in seven months - finding the St. Peter Sandstone at 8,851 feet and taking cores which may have aided the 1980's efforts.

The 1949 deep test was in the Reed City Field, which is the county's largest at 5,300- plus acres and most prolific with more than 48 million barrels of oil and 27 billion cubic feet of natural gas. The field has five producing horizons beginning with the Dundee discovered in 1940, Traverse in 1941, Richfield in 1954, Detroit River Sour Zone in 1955 and the PdC in 1985.

Drilling activity in the 1940's in the Reed City Field marked the first widespread use of rotary rigs for drilling "all the way." The field was hailed as the biggest single field development of the decade and credited with producing more oil and gas from multiple pays in a single area than any other in the state. The Reed City Field was converted to a combination gas storage and repressuring status in the 1960's by Michigan Consolidated Gas Company, a successful program to increase oil recovery and provide gas storage.

The multiple-horizon fields, which are attracting the attention of companies looking for deep drilling prospects, are prevalent in Osceola County with only nine of the 32 fields having only one pay zone or reservoir. That bodes well for the future of additional deep drilling in the county, and the many tracts of unexplored acreage is another attractive feature for exploration projects.

The pace of exploration in Osceola County from the 1940's dropped off only a little in the 1950's, a ten-year span in which seven more fields were found and the 1960's brought an additional eight discoveries.

Things dropped off for Osceola in the 1970's with the low points in 1976 when only one hole was drilled and in 1978 when none were drilled. The Clinton gas play led to 11 drilled in 1983 and held up through 1984 when 10 were put down.

Building on an already rich petroleum heritage which saw the state's major oil development of the early 1940s here catapult Osceola County into a leadership role among Michigan counties in both oil and gas production, both major oil companies and independents continue to make this western Central Basin area one of the hot spots in the big exploration play of the 1980s and early 1990s, the deep gas play.

Osceola County was already the fifth largest producer of oil (behind only Hillsdale, Midland and Northern Niagaran Reef Trend counties of Manistee and Otsego) and tenth largest producer of natural gas when the deep play was introduced to the county in 1985 by H.L. Brown, Jr.'s Ruwe-Gulf 1-19A (Sec 19, T18N, R10W, Lincoln Township), a directionally redrilled wildcat test that was gauged at seven million cubic feet gas and 20 barrels condensate daily from the lower Prairie du Chien sand.

Osceola since Willmet Incorporated's (PPG Industries) 1982 Burnt Bluff gas find on a deeper pool test of the Hersey Field had resulted from the group's dual potash and natural gas exploration program. Prior to opening of the Hersey Burnt Bluff Pool, only one discovery had been made since 1968 in the county, the original Hersey discovery of Michigan Stray Sandstone gas in 1971.

With strong deep gas potential revealed by the strike at the Reed City complex, it wasn't long before further exploration and drilling succeeded in identifying and encountering more commercial deep reservoirs. First to follow in 1986 was the Burdell Prairie du Chien Pool, approximately 12 miles north of Reed City. PetroStar's Boyce 1-19 (Sec 19, T20N, R10W, Burdell Township) was flow tested at rates similar to the Reed City Prairie du Chien discovery on initial test.

The next year saw Wolverine Gas & Oil step out to the east of Reed City to make a discovery on their Greenwald 1-27 (Sec 27, T18N, R10W, Lincoln Township), a deeper pool test of the Reed City, East Field, until then a producer of Traverse Limestone oil.

Two other deep discoveries were brought in during 1987, both on deep pool tests of shallower Devonian producing structures as well. Sun Exploration & Production scored with its Zinger 1-1 (Sec 1, T18N, R10W, Lincoln Township) in the Rose Lake Field, while Marathon Oil Company's Lowe 1-27 in Section 27 of Leroy Township (T19N, R10W) opened the deep zones below the small Leroy Field's Reed City zone oil production.

Continuing a pattern which to date has seen all proven Prairie du Chien gas discoveries limited to the west half of Osceola County, discoveries in 1988 by Terra Energy Ltd. and PetroStar Energy were in Burdell (T20N, R10W) and Sherman Townships (T20N, R9W). Terra's strong discovery well, the State Burdell 1-5 (Sec 5, Burdell Township) was tested at three million cubic feet gas daily through unstimulated perforations in the upper Prairie du Chien sand and became the county's first "new field" deep discovery, or one not drilled as a deeper pool test of a shallower producing structure.

PetroStar's Sherman Township find, the Sherman 1-20 (BHL: Sec 20), was made on a deeper pool test of the Mineral Springs Michigan Stray gas and Dundee oil pools did not come in as strong, with an initially recorded gauge of 845 Mcf gas daily.

Most recently completed confirmed discovery in the county was Shell Western E & P Inc.'s Nelson & State Rose Lake 1-10 (Sec 10, Rose Lake Township), flow tested at approximately one million cubic feet gas and 100 barrels condensate daily in mid-1989. Ownership of the well located approximately five miles northeast of Rose Lake Prairie du Chien gas production has been transferred to Dart Oil & Gas Corporation, who plan additional completion and testing there.

Not officially confirmed at latest report as a new discovery, but rating as the probable opener of a new pool is Sun Exploration & Production's (now Oryx Energy Company) Leon Parmelee 1-7A (BHL: Sec 7, T18N, R9W, Cedar Township). The well is only two miles south of the company's Rose Lake Prairie du Chien opener, but is separated from the first well by a dry hole.

A 1989 development well in the Winterfield Prairie du Chien Pool in Section 36 of Marion Township (T20N, R7W) by PetroStar Energy broke the ice as the first productive deep well drilled in the county's eastern half. One township to the west, another 1989 effort by PetroStar, the Highland 1-17 (Sec 17, Highland Township) wildcat, was production cased and may eventually earn new field discovery status. Currently being drilled at press time was another eastern Osceola new field deep wildcat, Mobil Oil's State Hartwick & Yarhouse 1-27 in Section 27 of Hartwick Township, T19N, R8W.

Closer to confirmed deep producing areas is the other current deep drilling activity in the county that by Klabzuba Operating on Osceola a deep pool test of the small Cat Creek Dundee oil reservoir in Section 4 ofHersey Township, T17N, R9W.

The bright future of Prairie du Chien gas production added to Osceola County's prolific past history of oil production, particularly in the multi-zone Reed City area, should assure Osceola's place among the state's most productive areas.

Through June 1989, Osceola County had made good advantage of its early entry into the deep play through the Reed City discovery, with a cumulative deep gas production to that time of more than 14 billion cubic feet (Bcf), good enough for second best in the state.

Three deep producers in Osceola merit special mention as being among the most prolific in the state based on annual and cumulative gas production records. The Boyce 1-19 and Ruwe-Gulf 1-19A have each exceeded annual outputs of 1.6 Bcf (or nearly 4.4 Mmcf daily), while the Leroy 1-27 produced more than 1.4 Bcf produced in the first six months of 1989 alone, a daily rate of more than 7.5 Mmcf.

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