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Oil industry gushes over Wolverine’s Utah discovery

Jansma strikes black gold

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – A small Michigan oil company, headed by a Dutch American entrepreneur, is currently pumping 1,500 barrels (63,000 gallons) of oil a day at what has been dubbed Covenant Field in Utah. It is just a trickle of what it expected to follow. Wolverine Gas & O Corp. has struck what some believe could be the biggest find onshore in the United States in more than 30 years.

Industry trade publication Oil and Gas Investor recently named the central Utah find the ”Best Discovery of 2004.” Wolverine president Sidney Jansma Jr. (61), the son of a Dutch immigrant, purchased the site from Chevron in 1999, which had held the property for over 50 years but never found any black gold. Wolverine studied Chevron’s data and then lined up investors for drilling. The results of the drilling soon confirmed similarities with huge fields over 150 miles away.

In January 2004, Jansma sent a team to Utah to lease the rights to 500,000 acres of land. While the rights went for $10 an acre before the discovery, the rates quickly rose to $40 and now fetch as high as $1,250 an acre. Even without drilling another hole, the rights are worth hundreds of millions. The deposit by some estimates may contain 100 to 200 million barrels of oil.

Jansma’s family has been in the oil business since 1948, when his father Sidney Sr. bought an interest in an oil well. He sent his son to work at one of his oil fields when he turned 16. Wolverine over the years has drilled many successful wells, but also dry wells. This is why Jansma Jr. prefers to be cautious when evaluating his latest discovery. What he knows for certain is that his Utah wells produce 1,500 barrels per day. For the rest, it will be one well at a time.