Calhoun County Information

Calhoun County

Contact Information

Brad Jenkins

Phone: 617-720-2808

Email: info AT bradfordgordon.com

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Calhoun County at a Glance

Total Wells drilled through December 31, 1990 1,18
Total oil wells drilled through December 31, 1990 365
Total gas wells drilled through December 31, 1990 98
Total facility wells drilled through December 31, 1990 8
Total dry holes drilled through December 31, 1990 727
Well Density - approximately 1.5 wells per square mile (716 square miles In county)
Total cumulative oil and lease condensate production through December 31,1989
(excluding Albion - Pulaski - Scipio Trend)
11,685,848* bbls.
Total cumulative natural gas production through December 31,1989*
(excluding Albion - Pulaski - Scipio Trend)
24,066,641 Mcf

* Includes all production through 1986, only prorated production from 1986 - Dec. 31,1989.

BATTLE CREEK - The majority of Michigan's growth as an oil and natural gas producing state over the past decade and a half has come as a result of the early nineteen seventies discovery and development of pinnacle reef reservoirs in the Niagaran strata. More than seventy five percent of Michigan's present oil and gas production comes from the Niagaran Reef Trend with the lion's share provided by the Northern Michigan Trend. But a substantial amount of production continues to be provided by Niagaran pinnacle reefs in the southern part of the state and prominent among these is Calhoun County. Situated almost dead center in the southern tier of counties at the base of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, Calhoun County's 716 square miles and 45 8,240 acres (17th largest in terms of land area) have provided a significant chapter in Michigan petroleum history since the County's entry into the oil and gas business with the discovery of the Albion Field in 1941.

Although geographically and geologically a sizable part of the Albion-Scipio Trend, the Trenton-Black River geological zone twentynine mile by mile and a half "trench" that has constituted Michigan's only major oil field by having produced more than 100 million barrels of oil from a single contiguous reservoir, Calhoun County oil and natural gas production and ranking thereof in comparison with other counties becomes difficult since, until 1980, State statisticians attributed part of Albion-Scipio production to Calhoun County. In 1980, Albion-Scipio trend contributions to Calhoun County production statistics were retroactively removed and transferred to Hillsdale County where production statistical attribution remains.

That leaves Calhoun 23rd among Michigan's oil-producing counties and 16th on the list for gas output. But nearly half of the Trend's 29-mile long reservoir lies in Calhoun County and even moving onethird of the oil and gas produced from the Trenton/Black River reservoir back to Calhoun's stats would make the county one of the top five for both oil and gas. It's no surprise that Hillsdale is the leading oil-producing county in Michigan.

Calhoun was one of many Southern Michigan counties looking on in the late 1920s and most of the 1930s while the central portions of the Michigan Basin saw booming developments in the Devonian across the middle of the state from Bay County through Midland and Isabella to Newaygo and Muskcgon. Then Southwest Michigan boomed with Traverse successes and Calhoun missed that, too.

The first hydrocarbon discovery in Calhoun was in Albion Township in 1941 and resulted in a small four-well Traverse reservoir good for 6,238 barrels of oil before being abandoned in 1948. Continental Oil Company made the discovery on the ). C. Turner 1 (NE SE NE, Sec 15, T3S, T4W, Albion Township) ironically right smack in the path that the Albion- Pulaski-Scipio Trend would follow 20 years later, but some 2,500 feet shallower at only 1,609 feet deep.

The first Trenton/Black River find in Calhoun County was in Albion Township (T3S, R4W). one year after the Trend was first identified by Cliff Perry as a Trenton/ Black River reservoir in Hillsdale County's Scipio Township (T5S, R3W), off the southeast comer of Calhoun County.

But while Jackson and Hillsdale have enjoyed the discovery and development of a second major (though smaller than the Albion-Pulaski-Sdpio Trend) fault system for Trenton/Black River production from the Stoney Point Field, Calhoun has seen only the small four-well Tekonsha Field in Tekonsha Township (T4S, R6W) to add Ordovician production.There are no other reservoirs deeper than the Niagaran, which lies well above the Trenton.

McClure Oil Company and 1. W. Hartman caused a stir in 1959 when the Witlis Johnson No. 1 (SE SE NW, Sec 17) showed oil nearly 20 miles west of the Albion- Pulaski-Scipio Trend, but the well was never a big producer and the Tekonsha Field's four wells only accounted for 19,309 barrels before being abandoned in 1976.

Not that the Niagaran hasn't been enough to keep operators busy exploring in Calhoun County. Of the 112 reservoirs identified in Calhoun, 109 have been in the Salina/Niagaran series, mostly Brown Niagaran but also producing from the A-1 Carbonate and E Unit.

True to Southern Michigan Niagaran Trend charactaristics, most of the Calhoun Salina/Niagaran reservoirs are onewell fields (71 of the 109), but that means that another 38 were multiple-well reservoirs, including the Convis 18-1S-6W and Pennfield 35-1S-7W Fields with production from 14 wells each. The Convis 18 reservoir, discovered by Mobil Oil Corporation in 1975 and initially tested at more than 1,000 barrels oil per day, is the county's top oil producer with 3,162,911 barrels along with 1,008,180 Mcf natural gas. The Pennfield 35, discovered in 1974 by Mobil, ranks second in oil production with 2,769,530 barrels along with 571,425 Mcf gas and is now operated as a waterflood project.

Calhoun's top gas-producing reservoir outside of the Albion-Pulaski-Sdpio Trend is the Lee 8A-1S-5W Field with 4,286,878 Mcf to go along with 1,130 barrels of oil. Mobil also drilled the Lee 8A opener in 1974 for what was to become a two-well reservoir.

Battle Creek- Gas Company operates two gas storage reservoirs in converted Niagaran reef reservoirs in Calhoun County The company also operates a gathering system in parts of the county.

With the Trenton/Black River production limited to the eastern side of the county and the Niagaran concentrated on the northern edge, there are vast areas of Calhoun County with little or no exploration. The nearly 300 wells in the Calhoun portion of the Albion-Pulaski-Scipio Trend and heavy Niagaran exploration in Convis and Lee Townships inflate the well density to approximately 1.5 wells per square mile, but 11 of the 20 townships have no production to date and few holes drilled.

If interest in finding another fault system, new Niagaran areas or maybe deeper reserves revives in the 1990s, Calhoun might be back in the middle of yet another boom.

Both the Trenton/Black River and Niagaran continue to hold promise over much of the 716 square miles (458,240 acres) for what is the 17th largest county in terms of

land area in Michigan, but drilling has dropped off.

In 1985, only seven counties had more holes drilled than the 35 which were put down in Calhoun. But that began a decline which saw 28 in 1986 then 24 each in 1987 and 1988 before 11 in 1989 and four in 1990. The four in 1990 were all dry but 1989 drilling was good for one gas discovery and one oil discovery.

After seeing success after success in the Trenton/Black River development along several miles of the Albion-Pulaski-Scipio Trend in the late 1950s and 1960s, Calhoun County enjoyed a steady Niagaran development through the 1970s and 1980s and enters the 1990s in a lull before the next hoped-for boom.

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