News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 25, 2011

Oil struck in Eastern Vigo County

Test of well producing 400 barrels a day

Brian Boyce
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — CountryMark officials are gushing over “a significant oil find” at a well site in eastern Vigo County.

The well has been tested for 21 days, CountryMark said Thursday in a news release, and is flowing about 400 barrels of oil per day through a choke. If opened wider, the well would be capable of producing significantly more oil, the company said.

“Securing American energy is CountryMark’s top priority,” president and CEO Charlie Smith said in the release. “Our strategy has been and will continue to be to invest in state-of-the art oil exploration and drilling technology, which will sustain oil production in the Illinois Basin and provide a reliable supply of Midwest American crude to our refinery in Mt. Vernon.”

The oil exploration in geologic formations is taking place on land described as Hulman Farms No. 1 (the Grace Hulman Real Estate Trust and Anton Hulman Jr. Real Estate Trust), about 400 feet west side of South Hunt Street near Indiana 42, close to the Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.

In November, the Area Planning Commission for Vigo County unanimously approved a request for zoning changes to the 6.21 acres of Hulman Family property.

The land had been zoned an A-1 agricultural district, but was changed to M-O — a mining overlay district.

According to CountryMark officials, the Illinois Basin, of which the Terre Haute is part, produces about 35,000 barrels of crude oil daily within its 53,000-square mile depression underneath southern Illinois, western Indiana and western Kentucky.

Indiana’s overall crude production was 1.73 million barrels in 2005, ranking it 23rd in the U.S.

The Illinois Basin, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website, consists of predominantly sandstone resevoirs between 1,000 and 3,000 feet deep. Oil and gas discoveries within this formation can be found in up to 25 individual resevoirs, separated vertically or laterally, per field. More than 900 individual reservoirs are recognized in 500 southwestern Indiana fields, according to the IDNR.

Posey County paced the state’s permitting activity in 2009 with 68 registered that year, IDNR data reports. Knox County’s 65 permits was second, followed by Gibson’s 45, Sullivan’s 37, Pike’s 36, Greene’s 33 and Daviess’ 29. Vanderburgh County posted 11 permits that year with Clay County bringing in nine.

Gibson County leads the state in total number of oil wells with 1,262. Posey County is second with 1,221, followed by Pike with 614. Knox County is fifth in the state with 182, followed by Vanderburgh, 175; Daviess, 172; Sullivan, 140; and Greene, 132.

According to company information: CountryMark is a farmer-owned cooperative and Indiana’s only American-owned oil exploration, production, refining and marketing company. The company’s refinery is located in Mount Vernon, Ind., and was built in 1940. CountryMark refines 26,800 barrels of crude oil per day and is the largest buyer of crude oil in the Illinois Basin. CountryMark began oil exploration in 2008.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or