Oil and gas producer looking to drill oil near Mason
A Traverse City based oil and gas producer wants to drill oil in Vevay Township near Mason.
The company, Jordan Development, had its first hearing in front of Michigan's Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy on Thursday.
Jordan Development Company is just in the first stage of the two-part process with the state where they asked for a larger drilling area underground than normal and for the court to look at the rights of all the landowners inside the area.
“Normally for a Niagrian well of this type you have to have a standard 80 acre unit. In this case, the company has asked for a 120 acre unit and they’ve also asked for a statutory pooling which is when some of the mineral owners inside of a unit have signed mineral leases,” said Adam Wygant, State Geologist and Director of the oil,gas and minerals division of EGLE.
It’s important to note that oil has been obtained from the ground in the Mason area for years. The company also says the fracking method will not be used.
Nevertheless, Jesse Ramey, Supervisor of Vevay Township said they have heard from people in the community.
"They come in. We fielded a few questions but this has been in process for a number of years so people probably have forgotten about it. They probably heard about it several years ago and by now they're probably not even thinking about it," said Ramey.
The proposed 120 acre drilling site would be located south of Kipp Road between the railroad tracks and Eden Road. Ramey says the township has no control over whether it happens or not and can only submit comments to the State.
"There's some people who will not like it, some people are not concerned, but here again it's not our call whether its done or not," said Ramey.
The decision is controlled by the state.
"This is not an overly complex well that's being proposed, although we know there's community interests so we'll be engaging the public on this one and doing our normal thorough review on this," said Wygant.
Jordan Development told the court they'd already asked landowners inside the proposed site for the rights to their oil and gas.
"They have to secure all of the mineral rights to that well and typically mineral owners that are within that unit would receive typically like a ⅙ or ⅛ depending on what the nature of their lease is," said Wygant.
Ramey says the company has also talked to the Township.
"As explained by the people putting it in there, there should be no problem with leakage or spillage because it's entirely contained all the way down," said Ramey.
Not all owners signed leases, including Mason Public School. Of those located in the area, 76.69% signed leases and 23.31% did not. The court now has to make sure everyone receives their fair share of the potential revenue.
A decision is expected in 1-3 months. The next step would be the permit application approval where the state will look into any potential environmental impacts. The state will also look into public health and safety concerns before the permit is approved.
The Russle Whipple, Mayor of Mason said in a statement, “The city retains mineral rights on two small parcels within the area covered by the drilling. Therefore, we will share in royalties from products derived from the drilling if it is successful. The drilling rig will not be located within the city limits, therefore there will be no direct impact to city residents. The city has been informed that the directional drilling techniques to be employed will not involve fracking but the city will continue to monitor operations as allowed. The city does not have any legal jurisdiction regarding the drilling as such operations are managed by the state.”