Indianapolis-based CountryMark Cooperative Inc., which operates an oil refinery that turns out diesel fuel used primarily by farmers, has returned to drilling oil wells after abandoning the production business decades ago.
CountryMark has hit oil with a well it drilled in Spencer County, and two more wells are planned this year in Posey County - also in southwestern Indiana -and in Daviess County, Ky., according to the Evansville Courier & Press.
CountryMark is undertaking the drilling in a partnership with Pioneer Oil Co. of Lawrenceville, Ill. Pioneer is able to drill horizontally, a method that can create greater production than traditional vertical wells.
The venture is expected to produce more than 40,000 barrels of crude oil in the coming decade. CountryMark will invest about $4 million in drilling this year.
Early this year, the co-op spent $20 million to expand its refinery in Mount Vernon.
CountryMark sold its animal feed and crop supply businesses in the late 1990s following heavy losses, retaining its oil refining and diesel fuel distribution network.