Written by Jerry Engler Tuesday, 15 May 2012 14:25
The new oil rig going up just north of Strassburg Baptist Church near Marion Reservoir seems to symbolize what’s coming to Marion County.
Leo Kremeier of Herington, owner of Kremeier Oil & Gas, is drilling the well on land owned by M.E. Meisinger for Ventex Operating Corp. of Dallas, Texas. He said the well is conventional rather than the new horizontal “fracking” variety that goes through rock at great depths to bring up oil.
But the horizontal drilling will begin here in about two months, he said, with even side lines from wells going under the reservoir if negotiations with the Corps of Engineers are successful.
He said the fracking would be so deep that it would have no effect on the reservoir.
Kremeier expects to be drilling another conventional well a mile and a half north of the Strassburg well soon.
He said he has recently drilled four new wells in Morris County with 16 new wells total. In the near future, he expects this area to have about 100 new wells––70 horizontal drills and 30 conventional.
Both Marion County Register of Deeds Jo Ottensmeier and Appraiser Cindy Magill said the activities coming into their offices generated by oil companies are unprecedented in the county’s modern history.
Magill said in the Marion County Commission meeting Monday that her office is under a shriveling April-May timeline to make sure they get new oil leases by companies with Marion County landowners on the tax rolls for the coming year.
According to what she has heard from the public, Magill said, “We’re laying on a prime oil belt in Marion and McPherson counties.”
Ottensmeier said oil company representatives coming into her office in unprecedented numbers are checking leaseholds back to the county’s founding in the 1800s—but they don’t reveal which companies they are researching for.
Kremeier confirmed there are actually several counties considered in a group here for the focus of new horizontal drilling. Besides Marion, Morris and McPherson, he named Chase and Sedgwick counties.
Kremeier named monetary figures already estimated in the mix of what is happening here, but asked that it only be said that they are in the many millions of dollars.
He said he would also expect a jump in local population with the arrival of oil workers and their families.
Kremeier will be drilling wells for himself, he said, but he also is committed to drill for others with one of the first likely horizontal wells to be done going in on Scully lease land.
Kremeier said there is widespread interest in the fracking potential in the area, both from American companies and foreigners. He expects a Chinese delegation from Hong Kong to visit this summer.
Even though Marion County experienced a historical oil boom that gave birth to such nearly forgotten communities as Watchhorn Corner, Kremeier said “most of the oil is still there”— perhaps 80 percent by some estimates.
He confirmed that the old methods couldn’t do what modern methods can do to bring in the oil.
A map overlay of Marion County with inactive historical wells as red points and active wells as green points, reveals the red points overwhelm the green.
That may change if the interests of Kremeier and other oil workers are confirmed.