Recovery of bypassed oil in the Dundee Formation using horizontal drains, Quarterly technical report, 1/1/97--3/31/97 Page: 3 of 20
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This Class II field project has demonstrated that economic quantities of hydrocarbons can
be produced from abandoned or nearly abandoned fields in the Dundee Formation of
Central Michigan using horizontal drilling technology. The site selected for the
demonstration horizontal well was Crystal Field, a nearly abandoned Dundee oil field in
Montcalm County, Michigan. This field had produced over 8 million barrels of oil, mostly in
the 1930's and 1940's. At the height of development, Crystal Field produced from 193
wells, but by 1995, only seven producing wells remained, each producing less than 10
bbls/day. A horizontal well, the TOW 1-3, drilled as a field demonstration pilot was
successful, producing at rate of 100 bbls of oil per day with a zero water cut. Although the
well is capable of producing at a rate of 500+ bbls/day, the production rate is being kept
low deliberately to try to prevent premature water coning. Cumulative production exceeded
50,000 bbls of oil by the end of April, 1997 and lead to the permitting and licensing of
several dozen Dundee wells by project end. Twelve of these permits were for continued
development of Crystal Field.
Two subsequent wells, the Frost 5-3 and the Happy Holidays 6-3, have not been as
successful. Both are currently producing 10 BOPD with 90% water cut. Efforts are
underway to determine why these wells are performing so poorly and to see if the situation
can be remedied. The reasons for these poor performances of the new wells are not clear
at this time. It is possible that the wells entered the Dundee too low and missed pay higher
in the section. When the TOW 1-3 was drilled, a vertical probe well was also drilled and
cored. That probe well penetrated the pay zone and helped guide the horizontal well. The
important lesson may be that vertical probe wells are a crucial step in producing these old
fields and should not be eliminated simply to save what amounts to a small incremental
Core and logs from the Dundee interval were recovered from a vertical borehole at the
same surface location. The addition of several horizontal wells will likely add another 2
million bbls (or more) to the cumulative production of the field over the next few years. If
other abandoned Dundee fields are re-developed in a similar manner, the additional oil
produced could exceed 80 million barrels.
Additional project work involved the characterization of 28 other Dundee fields in Michigan
to aid in determining appropriate additional candidates for development through horizontal
drilling. Further quantification of reservoir parameters such as importance of fracturing,
fracture density, and irregularity of the dolomitized surface at the top of the reservoir will
help in designing the optimal strategy for horizontal drilling.
The project was a cooperative venture involving the U. S. Department of Energy, Michigan
Technological University (MTU), Western Michigan University (WMU), and Terra Energy
(now Cronus Development Co.) in Traverse City, MI.
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Recovery of bypassed oil in the Dundee Formation using horizontal drains, Quarterly technical report, 1/1/97--3/31/97, report, March 30, 1997; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc699180/m1/3/: accessed June 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.