Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly – August 2016

Each month respectmyplanet (RMP) recaps the past 30 days of oil & gas activity in the Michigan Basin. We cover new applications & permits to drill oil, gas, disposal, and storage wells and anything else hydrocarbon related. We recap oil & gas activity that happens in Michigan and publish this Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly (MOGM) magazine right here at the end of each month. You can follow us on Twitter by clicking here, or like us on facebook by clicking here and you won’t miss a publication. Our publications are free and always will be. Have a tip for us about a leaking tank or a spill near your house? Or, are you curious about something oil & gas related you see that you want us to dig into? Let us know by leaving a comment at the bottom of this article.

Michigan oil & gas has awoken from its 2016 slumber with August being a very busy month.   While we are still technically off to the slowest year in Michigan oil & gas history, things certainly picked up speed in August. The MDEQ’s Office of Oil Gas & Minerals received more applications for oil & gas wells in August than in the previous seven months combined. We are still likely on pace to have the slowest year ever in Michigan history, breaking last year’s record, but this month was a busy one nonetheless.

This is a tank battery at the State Frederic 1-6A well site. Did you know that the majority of groundwater contamination comes from hydrocarbon storage tanks of all types? Tanks fail and water gets contaminated.
This is a tank battery at the State Frederic 1-6A well site. Did you know that the majority of groundwater contamination comes from hydrocarbon storage tanks of all types? Tanks fail all over Michigan and around the country and water gets contaminated.  Click to enlarge. (Photo Credit: Neo)

Early in the month Interstate Explorations out of Houston, TX filed an application for the Root 1-15 well to use high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) in Roxand Twp in Eaton County targeting the Prarie Du Chien formation. That got me to thinking about HVHF again and I thought it would be a good idea to check in on Michigan’s HVHF wells producing from the Collingwood formation as we haven’t checked in on those wells in about a year. We will drop in on the Collingwood wells later in this MOGM and look back on Michigan’s HVHF history.

Also in August, Savoy Energy filed applications targeting of the Trenton-Black River formation in Lenawee & Monroe counties, which is something new. Most oil wells targeting the Trenton group of rocks in Michigan is along the Albion-Scipio trend, which is a remarkable series of synclinal oil & gas traps of Middle Ordovician age.   Michigan’s Trenton group of rocks along the Albion-Scipio trend have produced 70x more oil than all other Middle Ordovician age rocks in Michigan combined. So, we will keep an eye on Savoy Energy’s Trenton-Black River exploration in Lenawee County & Monroe County to see what they find.

CO2 enhanced oil recovery sequesters CO2 while producing additional oil for energy. RMP supports this type of oil recovery even while advocating for a responsible migration away from crude oil as an energy source. Oil will be part of our energy mix for a long time even if we work hard to adopt alternative fuels. RMP is not a fringe or radical environmental group, we seek reasonable solutions that benefit all.
CO2 enhanced oil recovery sequesters CO2 while producing additional oil for energy. RMP supports this type of oil recovery even while advocating for a responsible migration away from crude oil as an energy source. Oil will be part of our energy mix for a long time even if we work hard to adopt alternative fuels like hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles. RMP is not a fringe or radical environmental group, we seek reasonable solutions that will allow us to transition away from oil as an energy source while we create new jobs for Michigan workers in the oil & gas industry.

To keep things going with the flurry of activity in August, Core Energy has applied for a horizontal injection well in their Chester EOR unit in Otsego County.   RMP is watching Core Energy activity closely as they have been working with the US Department of Energy on Carbon Dioxide sequestration technology, which is a topic that RMP advocates for and supports.   RMP will be mapping out all of Michigan’s CO2 injection wells and its supporting infrastructure to understand our Michigan #CCS scenario better.   CO2 sequestration (often called #CCS which stands for Carbon Capture & Sequestration) is a big topic across the country and around the world.   RMP is Michigan’s fuel cell authority and we recently wrote about Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells and their role in #CCS in our Fuel Cells 101 – Learning the Basics post.

Fuel Cell Energy out of Danbury, CT recently direct issued $40 million worth of common stock to ExxonMobil who plans to implement $FCEL’s Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells around the world to capture Carbon Dioxide whence it can be stored underground just like what Core Energy is doing right here in Michigan.   RMP will be watching & reporting on how Core Energy’s, ExxonMobil’s, and Fuel Cell Energy’s activities all fit together for Michigan and the rest of the world. ExxonMobil will soon be announcing the location of their upcoming pilot plant using $FCEL’s molten carbonate fuel cells and you’ll hear about it first on RMP’s Twitter & facebook; RMP is Michigan’s fuel cell authority.

A Look Back at Michigan’s HVHF Collingwood Wells Using LVWWs

RMP has been following HVHF since it started in Michigan in 2008. Friends of the Au Gres & Rifle River, along with RMP, wrote a white paper on HVHF in Michigan originally published in September 2012, which you can read about by clicking here.   Our paper was again updated in November of 2014 to account for some additional activity that occurred subsequent to the original publication date, but we had already gathered, parsed, and analyzed enough information in 2013 to determine that there would never be another LVWW for hydraulic fracturing in Michigan after the Westerman 1-29 HD1 well. When Halliburton rolled off the Westerman 1-29 HD1 pad in June of 2013, all the circus-like activity of HVHF using LVWWs was over in Michigan. Period. And, it’s never going to be coming back unless someone is looking for a loss leader for a tax write-off.

This is the buffer water tank used during hydraulic fracturing operations at the State Garfield 1-25 HD1 well in Northern Michigan. This well completion used over 12.5 million gallons of water which far surpasses what the MDEQ calls a Large Volume Water Withdrawal (LVWW). Well completions like this one using a LVWW have not occurred in Michigan since June of 2013 and most likely never will again.
This is the buffer water tank used during hydraulic fracturing operations at the State Garfield 1-25 HD1 well in Northern Michigan. This well completion used over 12.5 million gallons of water which far surpasses what the MDEQ calls a Large Volume Water Withdrawal (LVWW). Well completions like this one using a LVWW have not occurred in Michigan since June of 2013 and most likely never will again.  Click image to enlarge. (Photo Credit: Neo)

Many people consider the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Integrated Assessment of high volume hydraulic fracturing an authority study on HVHF in Michigan, but RMP and our volunteer researchers  do not.   In fact, myself and the volunteer research analysts I have worked closely with to study HVHF in Michigan think the report is fundamentally flawed and misses the mark on many levels.  The paragraph below is excerpted from the Graham Institute’s executive summary published in September of 2015 and very well encapsulates how fundamentally flawed the report is.

Excerpt from the Graham Sustainability Institute's Executive summary with the following footnote: "Summary of discussion during meeting of the Advisory Committee, Report Team, and Integration Team. April 20, 2015. Ann Arbor (MI): Graham Sustainability Institute, University of Michigan."
Excerpt from the Graham Sustainability Institute’s Executive summary with the following  #18 footnote: “Summary of discussion during meeting of the Advisory Committee, Report Team, and Integration Team. April 20, 2015. Ann Arbor (MI): Graham Sustainability Institute,
University of Michigan.”

RMP has repeatedly stated our #1 most important geologic research philosophy is that it’s all about the rock.  The excerpt above shows clearly that the Graham Institute did not do their homework or respect the rock.  Should we be surprised this is the consensus arrived at by a so called panel of experts that demonstrated from their inaugural meeting that they could not even perform simple arithmetic at a time when our most valuable and precious natural resources so desperately needed representation without prejudice?

RMP has been working diligently to report on HVHF since Beacon went into Sanilac County in 2008 and brought Michigan its very first HVHF well which was a failure.  No wells in Michigan have ever responded sucessfully to HVHF since that very first well.  Zero.  Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent since that white whale.  Hundreds of millions of dollars have been lost.  The Beacon well, just like every other well that used HVHF in Michigan, was targeting liquids not natural gas (CH4).   The Beacon well like every other well using HVHF in Michigan was done with prices at all time highs.  We have watched Devon drop tens of millions of dollars testing Michigan rocks with HVHF and walk away.  We have watched Chesapeake lawyers turn to EnCana lawyers in a Cheboygan courtroom and curse the day that EnCana tricked them into testing Michigan while they were being charged with collusion for ripping off Michigan landowners.  We watched latecomers like Blackstone funded Rosetta & GeoSouthern get owned by Michigan rocks just like every single abject failure using HVHF in Michigan before them.  Even Marathon’s last two recent attempts that we reported on in January using HVHF kept the perfect streak of failures alive.

RMP volunteers visited every single one of Michigan’s HVHF sites and took pictures and documented well timelines in real time.  We did our best to share our information with the public at no charge and we received zero funding to conduct our research.  RMP created a pictorial timeline of every single well from a staked wellhead location in the woods, to cleared pad, drilling, completion, and finally reclamation.    Where was the Graham Institute getting their information to publish that paragraph which is completely out of touch with what was already so clear in 2013.  Not only were things crystalizing into clear view in 2013, that paragraph was published in 2015 two years after every single operator had already boogied on down the road.  Where is their data to support such an off base claim?  What were they doing with that $600k?  Every single operator was specifically targeting liquids which makes the natural gas prices claim a dead give-away they hadn’t been paying attention to what matters: the rock.

More than two years before that paragraph was published, it was very clear that every single HVHF attempt was a failure with liquids prices at historical all time highs.   Furthermore, natural gas prices (again which were irrelevant) had remained relatively constant over the past four years while activity in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, North Dakota, and Wyoming was booming at never before seen levels.  So again, where is the data to support that claim?  That paragraph speaks volumes as to the waste of $600k used to fund the study.  This key miss of not respecting the rock’s capability to produce is exacerbated by the fact that the report was published two years after it was abundantly obvious to people who actually studied the data available.  RMP had been writing about this and sharing the information on this website since 2010 as best we could without ever having received a single penny in funding.

John Callewaert John earned a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering Technology from Michigan State University and his Ph.D. from the School of Natural Resources and Environment at UM–Ann Arbor. His teaching and research interests focus on environmental justice, environmental sociology, environmental management and community-based research. From 2000-2007, John was the founding director of the Institute for Community and Environment at Colby-Sawyer College and an Associate Professor of Social Sciences and Education. (Photo Credit: The University of Michigan)
John Callewaert earned a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering Technology from Michigan State University and his Ph.D. from the School of Natural Resources and Environment at UM–Ann Arbor. His teaching and research interests focus on environmental justice, environmental sociology, environmental management and community-based research.  John, however, ignored RMP’s community-based research regarding HVHF in Michigan. (Photo Credit: The University of Michigan)

Unfortunately, the entire IA & its fundamentally flawed and incorrect reports were moot on arrival with regard to HVHF in Michigan. I tried to caution Mr. Callewaert about this fundamental premise via email and that some of his other data he already published on the Antrim was unsubstantiated.  I even provided him our numbers through the contact links they provided.   But, his response to me was that his numbers came from the MDEQ and he therefore was going to use those numbers. I told him that it took three people weeks of long hours reviewing Antrim well files and special custom software we created specifically for this project to compile the numbers to demonstrate the MDEQ average Antrim water consumption number of 50,000 gallons of water per well was incorrect and unsupported. I even gave him the spreadsheet that was the fruit of our long hours of tedious volunteer labor. His instinct was to trust the MDEQ’s unsupported number instead of RMP’s peer verifiable data and not ask any further questions. Mr. Callewaert again published the incorrect numbers provided by the MDEQ about Antrim water consumption with RMP’s data in hand.  RMP’s data using a sampling size of 992 Antrim well completion reports shows an average water use of 6,805 gallons of water when including wells that also used nitrogen foam and 11,457 gallons of water when excluding wells that used nitrogen foam.

Mr. Callewaert, who was working on U of M’s integrated assessment, also had an opportunity to see an actual HVHF well in Michigan (the one pictured throughout this post) that was about to use a LVWW for completion and he declined the invitation. The Garfield 1-25 HD1 well in Garfield Township was about to be completed by Halliburton when Mr. Callewaert contacted one of RMP’s key contributing volunteers. Mr. Callewaert was offered a chance to see the process but declined and said that he had already visited a hydraulically fractured well in Otsego County with Erik Bauss who was working as a shill for EID at the time. Erik Bauss was on the payroll of the API working for their hydraulic fracturing promotional arm. Erik knows very little about hydraulic fracturing and unfortunately showed Mr. Callewaert & Mr. Schwank an Antrim well with a two-inch diameter well bore made from parts that can be acquired at Home Depot. RMP has often made the analogy of an Antrim well to a Collingwood well as something akin to a mouse & a blue whale; both are technically mammals and have some similar characteristics, but they’re very different animals.  The API’s EID still to this day spends $millions$ in prime time advertising, like a child with his fingers crossed behind his back, saying that an Antrim well is in essence the same as a Collingwood well for their marketing purposes because they both use hydraulic fracturing for completion.   Mr. Callewaert had an opportunity to witness an HVHF well completion using an LVWW, which is something that will never again be done in Michigan, and he instead missed that opportunity in order to visit an Antrim well with an EID shill.

State Garfield 1-25 HD1
This is the well pad for the State Garfield 1-25 HD1 taken September 9, 2012. Look at the size of the well pad! This is no Antrim well. That motorcycle in the foreground brings back a flood of memories of busy times when RMP volunteers were covering a lot of ground  and writing  100s of lines of custom software to compile  relevant information about a never before seen completion style [sic] in Michigan. That motorcycle helped Neo cover every corner of Michigan’s state forests from 2010 to 2013 when time was of the essence and there was no pavement or marked roads.  Click image to enlarge. (Photo Credit: Neo)
It’s disheartening to have our community-based data and research be ignored by those who say they’re focused on community-based research.  To ignore data that stands on its own two feet that clearly shows something was erroneous and not ask for or provide substantiation was a biting mistake.   For Mr. Callewaert to not even ask questions of where the MDEQ data came from or how it was supported exacerbated that mistake. Mr. Callewaert did not even ask me any questions about how the community-based data I provided to him was compiled; he just ignored it. His actions let me know exactly what to expect in the integrity of the Graham Institute’s IA; it was going to be fundamentally flawed and ill timed.  To me the IA was simply a two year late affirmation of exactly what I anticipated it would be: fundamentally flawed and ill timed.

If RMP had $600,000 along with our near zero overhead costs, we could help put Michigan on a steep trajectory toward using hydrogen fuel cells & producing sustainable energy [sigh].  If RMP had $600k we could do so much toward putting Michigan on a path toward wealth creation and job creation in a sustainable energy economy while helping Michigan’s oil & gas workers make the transition to good paying jobs in a better economy for their children.  I don’t hold any grudge toward Mr. Callewaert – what’s done is done – but the report was an expected disappointment.  RMP volunteers will just keep smiling, working hard, and moving forward toward getting good, honest, reliable, relevant, and smart information in front of our legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government to hopefully affect smarter legislation for future generations.  I’ve come to terms that we can never get very far without money which is something we are never likely to get.  But, if we could, I just know we could do so much more to show our legislators common sense actions they could take to make Michigan a leader in sustainability.

Regardless of the outcome of the Graham Institute’s study, let’s look at where Michigan’s Collingwood wells are today. RMP did the math long ago showing that Michigan’s Collingwood wells could never and will never break even financially which is what matters most to an operator.   EnCana, the original operator, probably figured this out before RMP did, but we had to wait for our data from the MDEQ and we weren’t far behind EnCana in figuring out the Collingwood was a bust. EnCana certainly bluffed pretty well, however, because they still needed to sell their Collingwood assets and give the appearance their assets had real value. EnCana didn’t want to advertise that the wells were such a large financial loss to their shareholders as well as to any potential buyers like Marathon. And, we will never know what Marathon paid for EnCana’s wells, but RMP speculates that Marathon only wanted the property to look for oil. Marathon in fact attempted for oil in the Detroit River formation in October of 2015 and we reported in January 2016 how their attempts using HVHF in the Detroit River Group (Amherstburg) were failures too.

State Garfield 1-25 HD1 being flow tested & flared. Fire fighters arrived this night with their lights flashing thinking the Michigan State Forest had burst into flames bc no one had told them to expect this flare test. They, like everyone else, had never seen a flare test from Michigan's Collingwood Shale.
State Garfield 1-25 HD1 being flow tested & flared. Fire fighters arrived this night with their lights flashing thinking the Michigan State Forest had burst into flames bc no one had told them to expect this flare test in the very dry month of July. They, like everyone else, had never seen a flare test from Michigan’s Collingwood Shale and as first responders were a little ticked off they had not been kept in the loop.  RMP volunteers meet all kinds of good people, like the fire fighters in Garfield Township, in pursuit of protecting Michigan’s freshwater resources.  The sky was lit up for miles for days and nights on end and it sounded like a jet engine during flare testing.  You can watch video here and here.  Click image to enlarge.  (Photo Credit:  Neo)

Since Marathon took possession of EnCana’s Collingwood wells, I will say they have done a good job of getting more production out of those wells than EnCana did. My colleague in amateur petroleum geology hobbying speculates that Marathon has most likely been able to get more production out of Michigan’s Collingwood wells by playing with the choke settings and “repressuring” the reservoir by simply toying with the choke. It would be interesting to talk to Marathon’s engineers to see what it is they did to improve EnCana’s wells, especially the resuscitation of the State Excelsior 1-25HD1. Regardless, we can see improved production out of all of Michigan’s Collingwood wells under Marathon’s tutelage and Marathon is at least still getting some revenue out of the wells.

It’s been about year since we last checked on aggregate production of Michigan’s Collingwood wells and we can see an increase of total revenue since inception from approximately $27.5 million a year ago to about $32.6 million today (through May reporting which is most current in August of 2016). We also see the State of Michigan’s total aggregate revenue cut rise from about $5.5 million a year ago to about $6.5 million today. We also see a little bit of a milestone in that aggregate revenue on the State Excelsior 3-25 HD1 well broke through the $10 million mark and is still the #1 NGL producing well in Michigan. While $32.6 million dollars might sound like a lot of money, remember that EnCana invested over $230 million into their Collingwood “experiment” according to their spokesperson Doug Hock. Even with Michigan’s free give-away of millions of gallons of our public freshwater from a cold transitional aquifer zone, the Collingwood is a bust. The financial failure that RMP continues to trumpet is why we have predicted with such confidence since 2013 that we will never again see a Collingwood attempt or an LVWW for HVHF. Investing $230 million to make $32 million is not smart business. You won’t, however, find that out by reading the Graham Institute’s executive summary 😉

HVHF Michigan revenue
Current approximation of revenue related to all HVHF wells in Michigan history through August 2016. Even though these wells have produced revenue, they are not close to financially breaking even nor will they ever. (Source: MPSC data & respectmyplanet algorithms)

August 2016 – List of New Oil & Gas Well Applications

Michigan received 19 applications in August more than doubling the total number of applications received for all previous 7 months of the year.  This brings the total number of applications for 2016 up to 30.   While we are still on pace to break 2015’s record for slowest year ever, August was still a busy month.

michigan oil & gas applications
August 2016 listing of applications received by the MDEQ. Items marked in green are converted to permits with the rest pending. Click on image to enlarge. (Source: MDEQ’s OOGM)

August 2016 – List of Permits Issued for Oil & Gas Wells

In August 2016, Michigan issued three new permits.   Since there are only 19 permits so far this year, all permits for 2016 are shown below.   The bottom three permits on the list were issued in August.

michigan oil & gas permits
A listing of all 19 permits issued so far in 2016. The bottom three permits were issued in August and 16 applications remain open.  Click image to enlarge.  (Source:  MDEQ’s OOGM)

August 2016 – Oil & Gas Wells Published as Plugged

Only six wells were reported plugged in August bringing the total wells reported plugged for 2016 up to 83.

michigan oil & gas wells plugged
August 2016 listing of wells reported plugged. Click image to enlarge. (Source: MDEQ’s OOGM)

The August 2016 Apps to Plugs Ratio KPI:

The apps to plugs ratio is self explanatory.  By looking at the number of applications to wells plugged KPI we can see wells coming vs wells going.   This KPI along with the previous one supports our original 2014 & 2015 outlook post with more numbers and data.

2016 Apps to Plugs Ratio  KPI:

30 Applications : 83 Wells Plugged

 


The August 2016 Permits to Plugs Ratio KPI:

The permits to plugs ratio is nearly the same as the apps:plugs ratio but with permits instead of applications.

2016 Permits to Plugs Ratio KPI:

19 Permits Issued : 83 Wells Plugged

August 2016 – Petroleum As % Of U.S. Trade Deficit KPI:

RMP is tracking this stat since President Obama signed a bill in December of 2015 that lifted an export ban on crude oil that had been in place since 1970.  RMP will be monitoring the effect of that federal legislation by monitoring an important economic statistic published by the United States Census Bureau.   The data and graph (shown below) come from this website: https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/graphs/PetroleumImports.html

This stacked-area line graph shows how much of the monthly US trade deficit can be attributed to the deficit in petroleum products. The vertical axis shows percent of the U.S. Goods and Services Trade Deficit. The horizontal axis shows a monthly time series from January 2006 to present. The bottom area of the graph shows what percent of the deficit comes from petroleum goods. The top area shows the percent of the deficit coming from non-petroleum goods and services.  RMP made a prediction the day the bill was signed that this graph would trend toward zero which is a good thing for the US economy.

Recently, however ,we see two consecutive month’s of upticks causing oil companies continued pain caused mostly by Saudi Arabian actions.

petroleum trade deficit
Petroleum as a % of US Trade Deficit for June 2016 comes in @ 12.0%. Data for this KPI lags three months behind the current date. The previous month’s deficit (May 2016) was @ 7.0% which represents a 5% month over month uptick. This graph is spiking most likely from the effect of Saudi Arabia’s increased output causing a bust in America. Click to enlarge.

Closing Remarks – August 2016

Finally in the August 2016 MOGM we touch back on the main reason why RMP publishes this monthly magazine: to advocate for the responsible migration away from crude oil as an energy source because it causes contamination to our groundwater.   It’s important for RMP to demonstrate we understand oil & gas so we don’t get bullied as know-nothings by a very tough and well-funded industry. But, it’s also important for RMP to consistently demonstrate how oil is contaminating our groundwater and is bad news for our economy and national security in the long run.

We again find this month another example in a long list of examples whereby hydrocarbon storage tanks have contaminated Michigan’s freshwater resources.   A Muskegon Development tank battery in Roscommon County was discovered to have polluted Michigan ground water and was reported by Muskegon Development on July 5, 2016. RMP has demonstrated in numerous posts that hydrocarbon storage tanks above and below ground are the biggest threat and burden to Michigan’s environment & economy posed by hydrocarbons.

LUST
There are literally thousands of diagrams like this example which is not the Muskegon Development tank battery.  This is just an arbitrary example  showing one of thousands of diagrams to choose from that delineates contaminated freshwater in Michigan and across America at typical locations where you fill up your car or truck with liquid hydrocarbons. LUST’s are the #1 freshwater threat to Michigan’s water but the data is so overwhelming people turn a blind eye because we are beholden to our vehicles and just “don’t want to deal with that right now”. There’s a better way though.  If we adopt Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles  (which are technologically proven) we can make our own energy, stop pollution, create jobs, and improve both our economy & our environment. (Screenshot Source: MDEQ)

We as Americans have used oil to our benefit for a long time and the quality of life improvements we have gained as a society from using hydrocarbons like crude oil for energy are undeniable. But, we now have the technology in hydrogen fuel cells to migrate away from crude oil as an energy source and create new jobs for our oil field workers as well as dramatically cut our military costs while improving our national security. We should, and we must responsibly migrate away from oil to improve our economy, environment, energy security, and national security for the benefit of future generations. This whole website and every post written here is a repository for information that supports this simple point. RMP takes this stance not to attack the oil industry or threaten its workers as we recognize our own dependence on oil; but rather, we call out these common sense points to take a sober look at what is best for America’s future generations. RMP understands that the migration away from oil will take decades and must be done in a responsible way to protect workers in the oil industry and the economy at large.

If you’re interested in reading about this latest spill discovery that was reported by Muskegon Development you can request a copy of the Site Status Report prepared by Pescador LLC out of Traverse City, MI for the tank battery spill in Roscommon County.  I would upload the document for you to DL from this site but it is too large (60MB) for RMP to attach on our tiny server space which is rented on a shoe-string budget.  You can read about the tank battery that required the removal of over 2,354 tons of contaminated Michigan soil. You can read about the ground water monitoring well that was installed that showed readings of ethlybezene & total xylenes above GSI criteria and also 1,2,3 TMB and 1,2,4 TMB levels above both RDW & GSI criteria. You can wonder to yourself: why wasn’t this found sooner? You can wonder to yourself: how could over 4,700,000 pounds of Michigan soil get contaminated with hydrocarbons before it was discovered again by happenstance rather than protocol? How many years did this leak go on undetected? It’s inexcusable neglect and unacceptable. And still, does the MDEQ publish a monthly listing of EQP-7233 forms for Michigan taxpayers to read? No.

Why doesn’t the MDEQ publish a listing of every EQP-7233 filed each month which is easily compiled information to host on their website? RMP has to sleuth for it and FOIA for it. It’s a terrible practice that keeps Michigan taxpayers in the dark about the underbelly of using crude oil for energy. One of RMP’s long time volunteer contributors who watches over the Au Sable watershed has to send multiple boilerplate FOIAs every single month on the 15th of the month individually by county just to find out if a spill has occurred in past 30 days. Let’s fix this. Let’s demand that the MDEQ publish a listing of every EQP-7233 form on their website every single month. It is so easy to do and would shed light on all the contamination caused to our freshwater by oil & gas.  These actions could hasten the adoption of hydrogen fuel cells and create excellent high-paying jobs for Michiganders and true energy independence.

Is hydraulic fracturing a cause for concern? No. But many folks make a big deal of it when in fact it does not even rate in RMPs top 10 concerns. The biggest threat to Michigan fresh water from hydrocarbons? Where you fill up your gasoline or diesel powered car.
Is hydraulic fracturing in Michigan a cause for concern? No. But many folks make a big deal of it when in fact it  no longer even rates in RMPs top 10 environmental concerns since HVHF using LVWWs left town in June of 2013.  What is the biggest threat to Michigan fresh water from hydrocarbons? Where you fill up your gasoline or diesel powered car.  HVHF using LVWWs was a legitimate threat to Michigan’s freshwater.  Now that it’s over, if anyone  has any evidence on how hydraulic fracturing is in the top 10 threats to Michigan’s environment or freshwater, please show us that evidence by leaving a link in the comment section below.

There are literally thousands of liquid hydrocarbon tanks leaking in Michigan contaminating our groundwater.  The biggest problem in Michigan and every other state in America is actually refined hydrocarbon product storage tanks (i.e. gas stations & distribution stations) In fact, the count of the Michigan LUST list as of the date of this publishing is 9,543 tanks under active remediation at 2,809 unique locations. In fact, Michigan has an entire section of law dedicated to acceptance of the fact that there are so many thousands of these contamination sores across Michigan that we (along with every other state in America) have become complacent in accepting dealing with these messes as a standard routine. Gasoline & diesel fuels are a shitty and obsolete way to power our cars & trucks. But, RMP is here to tell you there is a better way.  RMP thinks outside the box and has a solution to phase out this problem along with the phase out of crude oil pipelines. This is why RMP has self-declared itself as Michigan’s fuel cell authority non-profit 501(c)3 environmental group. By switching to fuel cell electric vehicles like the Toyota Mirai, we can responsibly migrate away from gasoline and diesel as a fuel source; and more importantly as a contamination source to our freshwater.

Michigan spends on average over $30 million dollars a year on remediation of these tanks that contaminate our water. There is in fact an entire cottage industry of high paid mucky mucks that profit from this contamination and dozens of Michigan forms administered with our tax dollars that can be responsibly faded to antiquity if we no longer used refined petroleum products to power our cars and trucks.

On Dec. 30, 2014 Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed Senate Bill 791, creating Public Act 416 of 2014.  This amends Part 215 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA), PA 451 of 1994, and authorizes the creation of the Underground Storage Tank (UST) Cleanup Fund (The Fund).  The Fund will be used going forward to reimburse owners of tanks for cleanup costs.  RMP will be writing much more about The Fund in future posts.  We can make an eye opening calculation of the money spent to clean up hydrocarbon spills in Michigan related to underground storage tanks in the past as follows : with 10,430 unique locations on the closed LUST list and the estimated cost of each clean up site of roughly $250,000 per location we have everything needed to do some simple math. The number of locations closed multiplied by the average cost per site equates to $2,607,500,000 to clean up messes using gas & diesel for our cars & trucks. That’s not a misprint, that’s $2.6 billion dollars for cleaning up our polluted water because of refined oil products. Think of what we could do with that money if it didn’t have to be wasted on cleaning up such messes.

RMP has no money to further our mission advancing sustainable energy solutions that create good paying jobs, but we know exactly what to do with money if we could get some. RMP knows what to do to affect legislative action that can put us on the path toward ending this senseless contamination of our freshwater resources for future generations (my kids – your kids – and their kids).  Think about it.  If you’ve got $600k to spare, go ahead and click on that donate button in the upper right hand corner of your screen; it’s a tax deductible donation because we are a 501(c)3 with a license to solicit from Michigan’s Attorney General.  Thanks for reading.  See you next month.

5 thoughts on “Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly – August 2016”

  1. Wow. There is a lot in this report I have difficulty grasping as I am a neophyte in this whole area. If Mr. Callewaert is using MDEQ data and it is in error, just what is happening at MDEQ? They are either fudging their data, aka lying, on a ton of levels or not conducting proper testing? Can we trust the new MDEQ Director to be truthful and forthcoming? She has strong ties to the oil industry based on her vita.

    This is staggering. I have been spending most of my time and energy on the Engridge #5 pipeline in the Upper Peninsula and Straits of Mackinac in getting it shut down. The fracking issue is another beast for sure. Keep up the good work.

    1. You’ll have to ask Mr. Callewaert what he has to substantiate the numbers he published. If there’s data to support 50,000 gallons of water per Antrim completion, I have not seen it. I wrote customized JavaScript, PHP, & SQL code to allow our volunteer users to isolate Antrim well files on our homegrown mapping software, locate the well completion form hosted on the MDEQ servers, and enter the water usage numbers by hand into our database for 992 Antrim wells. The due diligence took weeks. We compiled that data and ran calculations on it. I believe 992 wells represents a decent sample size to calculate an average. I have the well numbers, parameters used, and data to support my calculations. If anyone would argue my sample size is not representative, or argue there are flaws in my logic, or data entry errors, I would gladly update the numbers based on sound research. Did you watch the YouTube of Bill Stelzer? His own stated numbers contradict simple arithmetic & his main proclamation of “more gas with less water”. Bill’s commentary given at the very outset of the IA was a harbinger of what to expect from the so-called experts on the Graham Institute’s panel of experts. His numbers are so far away from supporting his claims and no one on that entire panel even questions what he said. Read the description on the YouTube video. I wrote that description 3.5 years ago. Res ipsa loquitur.

  2. Has anyone asked to see their data?

    The Institutes website states “Supported by individuals, corporations, foundations, government agencies,” so with public monies involved, I wouldn’t think it could be confidential.

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