April 10, 2013 - Driving along White Lake Road just before the Indian Springs Metropark entrance, you wouldn't know there was a drilling operation behind the line of black plastic sheeting unless you take a right onto Teggerdine Road.
From his backyard, Dave Kelley catches a glimpse of Jordan Development’s well site next door. Photo by Mary Keck (click for larger version)
Once around the corner, you'll see a dirt drive closed off by a gate where a security guard is posted. On two occasions, The Clarkston News was able to visit the site of the wellhead but taking photos wasn't allowed.
At the top of a hill are pickup trucks and men in hardhats who are constantly sampling to determine what's beneath the ground.
They work in an area that's been leveled like a construction zone. The smell of natural gas fills the air and stays in your skin when you leave.
From a large hole about four feet in diameter and lined with steel casing, part of a rig reaches up to about 10 feet, and the rest is 5,500 feet below the ground. There are large brown barrels with whirring natural gas flares at their tops and an above ground storage tank. During a visit that lasted about an hour, one tanker truck to collect oil and another to collect brine water stopped by the site.
About 400 feet away is the house where retirees Dave and Kandy Kelley have lived for 35 years. When it comes to Jordan Development's oil and gas exploration near their home, the Kelley's say, "most of the time, you wouldn't know they were there."
The guard who waits by the No Trespassing sign at the edge of Teggerdine Road is "super nice" and with their windows closed "you can't hear them coming and going," Kandy said. At most, the Kelleys have seen four tanker trucks go to the site in a day, and they "don't smell a thing."
Even though he can see Jordan Development's wellhead from his house, Dave Kelly will tell you, "they're better neighbors than some I've had in the past."
Thus far, Jordan Development has answered all their questions, changed the direction of their lights to accommodate the Kelleys, and even removed a gravel truck when it was in Kandy's way when she tried to drive home. Dave has even played golf with Chris Bickley, one of Jordan's landmen.
According to Kandy, the only downfall of having Jordan Development next door is "the nosey people."
The Kelleys signed the standard five-year lease with Jordan, and after reading through it, didn't make any changes.
From Kandy's point of view, "I would rather them get the oil from over here than overseas." If someone asked her for advice on signing a contract with Jordan Development, she'd say, "go for it."
"I don't think they have anything to lose," said Dave. "If they hit oil, they'll get royalties."
While the Kelleys haven't received a check in the mail yet, Ben Brower, vice president of Jordan Exploration, expects they'll get one soon.
"They'll probably get a check this month," he said. "Typically what happens is we sell oil or gas one month, we get paid for it the next month, then within two weeks, we pay out to the royalty owner."
The wellhead at the corner of Teggerdine and White Lake roads is producing oil and gas, but Jordan Development still considers it in "test mode" because they haven't determined how consistent it will be or how long it will produce.
"It's too early to tell, so we're just testing it to see what the production looks like, if it's sustainable," said Brower. He assures if or when the well produces, "any oil or gas that's sold is paid out to whomever is in the drilling unit."
Clarkston News reporter