A Michigan company is exploring the potential for oil and/or gas extraction on land within a regional park located in White Lake Township.
Last September, the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority (HCMA) granted a request from Jordan Development Company, LLC of Traverse City to conduct a seismic survey — the first step in exploring for oil and gas potential — inside the Indian Springs Metropark, located in White Lake and Springfield townships.
This is not an unusual practice for the HCMA, which has previously authorized seismic testing multiple times in the Stony Creek, Indian Springs, and Kensington metroparks. West Bay Exploration Company of Traverse City also received oil and gas leases from the HCMA in 1992, 1993, 1994, 2000, and 2001, covering a total of 1,056 acres in Kensington Metropark. West Bay has developed four wells within the park and another located outside of it.
The Jordan Development Company’s area of interest for potential exploration covers subsurface areas in the entire 2,500-acre Indian Springs Metropark and at all potential horizontal strata depending on the result of the seismic survey.
The seismic test line extends from Teggerdine Road northward to the north boundary of the park across approximately 1.8 miles of HCMA land.
The HCMA is charging a nominal fee of $1,000 per mile of seismic line tested, as it has in the past.
In 1994, the HCMA Board of Commissioners passed a resolution directing oil and gas royalties along with other related revenues to be deposited in the authority’s Supplemental Major Maintenance (SMM) Fund, which is “dedicated for major maintenance, repair, and reconstruction of essential park infrastructure, for projects whose combine total estimated cost exceeds $200,000.”
Since 1993, the HCMA’s oil and gas leases have produced approximately $13 million in revenues for the SMM Fund.
The seismic testing contract included an exclusive option for Jordan Development to enter into an oil and gas lease in the 12-month period from when the contract was approved on Sept. 8, 2011.
In June of this year, the company was granted approval for an oil and gas lease for a 316-acre portion of land within Indian Springs in White Lake Township.
According to the HCMA, Jordan had intended to drill an initial well once it obtained the necessary approvals in order to discover the potential for further exploration and the possible leasing of additional lands.
HCMA Spokesperson Denise Semion said those results wouldn’t be available until September because drilling just recently commenced in that area due to several delays experienced by Jordan Development with the state of Michigan’s leasing process.
This prompted Jordan Development to request a two-month extension for its seismic testing contract, which was approved by the HCMA.
According to the agreement, Jordan will have limited access for well development and mutual agreement will be required for actual wellhead locations — which will be restricted to only non-environmentally sensitive locations.
Also, the HCMA did not give Jordan Development the right to locate any production facilities on HCMA land.