Tuscola County Information

Tuscola County

Contact Information

Brad Jenkins

Phone: 617-720-2808

Email: info AT bradfordgordon.com

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Tuscola County at a Glance

Total wells drilled through 1982 319
Total oil wells drilled through 1982 184
Total gas wells drilled through 1982 5
Total facility wells drilled through 1982 0
Well density - approximately one well per three square miles (820 square miles in county)
Total cumulative oil and lease condensate production through December 31,1984 3,063,981 bbls.
Total cumulative natural gas production through December 31, 1984 113,527 Mcf


Definitely established as a commercial well, Tuscola county's much discussed wildcat was put on the pump yesterday after a successful responce to acid-treatment.

The Boyce Farm 1, located in section 24 of Wisner-14n- 7e, Tuscola county is owned by Smith Petroleum company of Saginaw. Completed two weeks ago for 7 barrels a day natural, the Boyce, which is bottomed at 2,832 feet, 171 feet in the Dundee, was given the acid Sunday.

Opened up Monday, operators swabbed 100 barrels from the hole in 24 hours. Overnight Tuesday night, the hole again filled up 1,800 feet with oil. Late yesterday, the owners were preparing to install rods.

AKRON - Readers of the above front page bulletin reproduced from the January 23, 1936 issue of the Michigan Oil & Gas News learned that Tuscola County's first bona fide oil producer had been brought in, and important enough event in itself.

The benefit of more than 50 years of production history now behind Tuscola's "oil field by-the-bay" (Saginaw Bay), however, lends even more significance to then Saginaw-based Smith Petroleum Company's find on what proved to be the north side of the large, multiplezone oil-producing Akron Devonian structure. (Late 1986 and early 1987 drilling of a deeper pool test of the structure could soon add Prairie du Chien gas production to the field's current five producing zones.)

Only the Saginaw Field (discovered in 1925) and southeastern Saginaw County's Birch Run Field (opened in 1934), both producing from the Berea, pre-date Akron in Michigan's eastern Central Basin area. Combined production from the Akron Field's Dundee and Detroit River (both Sour Zone and Richfield) horizons outstrips both the historic Saginaw (1.7 million barrels) and the here prolific Birch Run Berea Pools (215,000 barrels) in alltime cumulative output.

The Akron Field has proved to be Tuscola County's most productive as well as its first commercial field, claiming more than 80 percent of all oil production from fields discovered in the county. The impetus of Akron has helped Tuscola rank as the 32nd largest among Michigan's 59 oil producing counties through the end of 1982.

Very limited drilling had been done prior to the Akron strike, only three permitted wells are on record as having gone down before late 1935. The first hole, a Murphy Oil Company wildcat in Section 33 of Dayton Township, T11N, R11E, carried drilling permit number 64, and was plugged and abandoned after reaching an unspecified depth in 1928. Union Oil drilled in Section 27 of Vassar Township, T11N, R8E, in 1933 and William Weicher called for the plug after a wildcat test in Section 8 of Juaniata Township, T12N, R8E, in early 1935.

The Smith Petroleum Boyce Farm #1 did not hold up long, with D.N.R. files indicating it was plugged by mid-year 1936, but it spurred development, including eventual "deep" tests. The first successful one, Norton & Kramer's Sharp & Sharp #1 (NW NW NW, Sec 30, T14N, R8E, Akron Township), drilled approximately one and one-half miles to the southeast, found Detroit River Sour Zone pay in June 1938, testing 60 barrels per day oil natural and 120 barrels per day after acid treatments.

The mid-1940s brought in three new Dundee Fields to Tuscola County, Elmwood and Elkland in the northeast and Arbela in the southwest. Most prolific of the trio has been the Arbela Field, opened by Fred Riddell's 1946 find in Section 33 of Arbela Township, T10N, R7E, Riddell and partner Ervin Major dominated the Arbela play, which is separated from Saginaw county's Birch Run Berea Pool by the 1951- discovered Birch-Bela Field.

Production from Birch-Bela is attributed to Saginaw County due to location of it's discovery, but 28 of the 31 wells are located in Tuscola County. Through the end of 1984 the field had produced 441,186 barrels oil. Shell Western E & P Inc., now thought to be establishing a lease position in northeastern Tuscola County as part of its Saginaw Bay area deep gas play, is credited with discovery of the Elmwood field in 1946, a total of 10 wells were drilled in the pool.

The most elusive of the oil producing horizons to be commercially produced in Tuscola County may be the Lucas Formation's RichfieldZone, first tapped in Section 23 of Wisner Township, T14N, R7E, by Byron Bartlett in 1954. Many producers tried to offset the Aaron Eiek #1 well with Richfield production, most succeeded in finding oil, but none from the Richfield until, ironically, Aaron Elek III completed his Nixon & Nixon 1-23 (SW SE NE, Sec 23) for 100 barrels per day in 1984. Elek's grandfather owned the farm where Bartlett's 30-year old discovery had been drilled.

Elek put together an impressive string of successful development wells in the Akron field in the early 1980s, one of the more interesting was the Nixon & Nixon 14-23 (CN NE SE, Sec 23) which drilled an unusually thick and homogeneous Amherstberg pay section and flowed up to 35 barrels per hour oil on initial tests.

Drilling deeper than the Akron Detroit River production, but not as deep as the Simpson and Rayburn tests, E. Edwin Brehm raised some eyebrows in the early 1970s with his A-l and A-2 carbonate discoveries on the southeast side of the established Akron Devonian structure.

Brehm, who died at the age of 81 in March, 1987 , extended Akron production with discovery of A-l Carbonate gas in Section 32 and A-2 Carbonate oil in Section 33, both finds were completed in 1973. The A-l Carbonate lived up to its reputation as a high-pressure, low volume horizon, with the pool's three wells selling a total of only 113 million cubic feet gas after completion of a natural gas sweetening plant and pipeline in late 1976 and early 1977. Dart Oil & Gas later purchased the plant, from original owner Akron Hydrocarbons, Inc., but has not marketed gas from the field. The five A-2 Carbonate wells drilled were all reported active at the end of 1984.

The most recent new pool discovery was in 1981 when Don Yohe Enterprises drilled west of a non-commercial Berea gas well and opened the Fostoria Field's Detroit River Pool in Section 14 of Watertown Township. Six of the seven wells drilled remained active at the end of 1984. A 1980 discovery by Sun Oil Company in Section 29 of Vassar Township, T11N, R8E, proved to be non-commercial, no production is recorded for the well.

Independents not credited with discovery of a field but operating a significant number of wells currently are: Bailer & Deshaw in Arbela township and Dart Oil & Gas and The Wiser Oil Company in the Akron Field.

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