Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly – April 2016

It’s been a cold Spring.  Winter came late this year in Michigan and Spring has been pushed back.  The first four months ended April 30, 2016 have been freezing.  But, we’ve finally turned the corner and it’s getting warmer.  Sun’s out guns out for the next 5 or 6 months straight and a we are all looking forward to the warm weather.  Free heat from the sun will reduce natural gas demand from consumers all across Michigan and the Midwest until next winter.   Michiganders demand natural gas to stay warm for months on end through the cold season with a just a simple digital click of their thermostats.   Nearly 80% of Michiganders heat their homes with natural gas as well as use natural gas to dry their laundry and heat their chicken noodle soup.  Natural gas is poised to gain additional market share in 2016 around the world and to displace demand for oil similar to the way it has displaced demand for coal.

The first four months of 2016 rang in the first Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) export shipments from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass terminal in Lousiana with the very first export shipment of US natural gas occurring on Continue reading “Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly – April 2016”

Michigan Oil & Gas Production Report January – December 2015

2015 Michigan petroleum production numbers are approximately 98% reported as of today. RMP has always focused on the numbers as they are often greater than adjectives.   Opinions are overrated.  People want to hear the numbers and then decide for themselves.   This is RMP’s fifth year studying, parsing, organizing, compiling, and reporting numbers related to Michigan petroleum production. The information RMP publishes will always be free access to the public. RMP has always followed three fundamental tenets as a research and reporting philosophy:

  • It’s all about the rock. Always respect the geology.
  • Follow the money. Money talks.
  • Follow the wastewater. Waste means inefficiency and problems. Inefficiency and problems mean additional costs. With regard to costs, see point #2.

Following the money has proven to be difficult because of the voluminous and Continue reading “Michigan Oil & Gas Production Report January – December 2015”

Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly – March 2016

Crickets.   New oil & gas activity in the Michigan Basin is so slow through the first quarter of 2016 that the only thing you can hear at the OOGM permitting department is crickets.  2015 was the slowest year in Michigan oil & gas history for new permitting activity breaking the old record set in 1931.   In the first three months of 2015, the slowest year in Michigan history, the Office of Oil, Gas, & Minerals (OOGM) had received 24 applications and had issued 28 permits.  As of today, through the first three months of 2016, Michigan’s OOGM has received only two applications and issued only six permits.   New oil & gas permitting activity in 2016 is on pace to set the bar substantially lower than last year’s record as the slowest year ever.

As always, however, there’s a lot going on in Michigan oil & gas even if the permitting department of the OOGM is Continue reading “Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly – March 2016”

Landfill #27 At Wurtsmith Air Force Base

The Detroit Free Press published an article March 10, 2016 written by Keith Matheny that raises awareness about  groundwater contamination at Wurtsmith Air Force Base (WAFB) in Oscoda, Michigan.  You can read the Freep article by clicking here.  Keith’s article has current information and details about an upcoming “open house” being held by the MDEQ & US Air Force on March 23, 2016 in Oscoda in order to brief the public about groundwater contamination at WAFB.  Each day thousands of gallons of Pure Michigan freshwater soak through Landfill #27 and become contaminated water that flows south through Clark’s Marsh to the Au Sable River and then out to Lake Huron.  The extent of the contamination plume around WAFB is not fully understood but ongoing studies are underway to delineate the pollution.  A “do not eat” fish advisory was issued immediately after data first became available on May 2, 2012 that showed contamination levels at WAFB above GSI criteria.  It’s great to see Freep covering issues that raise awareness about important contamination “hot spots” in the Michigan Basin.   RMP has been working on a list of contaminated hot spots in Michigan and WAFB is on our top 10 list.   In this post, I will write a little bit about Continue reading “Landfill #27 At Wurtsmith Air Force Base”

Michigan Law 101 – How A Bill Becomes A Law

michigan legislature capitol

Understanding how a bill works its way through the Michigan legislature and becomes a law can be complicated if you don’t know where to start.  The process can be broken down, however, so it’s at least easier to understand the 101 basics. By the time you’ve finished reading this post you will know the fundamentals of how an idea becomes a Michigan Bill, how that bill works its way through Michigan’s legislature, and how that bill becomes a law. This post will also show you some web-based tools that can help you easily track a bill’s lifecycle and how to find a bill’s actual written text. It’s important to read the sponsored legislation verbatim rather than relying solely on another person’s opinion or cliff notes about the bill. RMP has done a couple “101” posts for subjects including Michigan Petroleum Geology 101 and Michigan Petroleum Production 101 in past posts and now it’s time for Continue reading “Michigan Law 101 – How A Bill Becomes A Law”

Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly – January 2016

The big story this month is the location of the Ensign #161 drilling rig.   The lat/lon of Ensign #161 on the date of this post’s publication is 40.4293, -104.604 which is not a Michigan lat/lon.   You can see a map of Ensign #161 along with 10 other active Ensign rigs in the same area of Colorado by clicking on this link (depending on when you read this, the location may have changed). With Ensign #161’s location in Greeley, Colorado, which is just north of Denver and just SE of Fort Collins, you might wonder: why is Ensign #161’s Colorado location the big story in Michigan in January of 2016?

The answer is that Marathon just Continue reading “Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly – January 2016”

Cheniere – The First U.S. Company To Export Natural Gas (LNG)

Cheniere (NYSE: LNG) is the first company in America to be given a license to export liquefied natural gas by FERC.   The world became interested in researching Cheniere in 2011 when this authorization was given.  Just a few years prior, in 2005, the US was building LNG import facilities as natural gas shortages seemed imminent. Natural gas prices continued to climb from 2005 to 2008 as the world did not recognize the fundamental energy shift sweeping across the planet during the great recession of 2008.  From 2008 to 2011, the US & world energy market paradigm was changing fundamentally.  With new technological abilities related to hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, natural gas drillers had unlocked the potential of the Eagle Ford and the Mighty Marcellus.  Many operators didn’t recognize the fundamental changes taking place in natural gas markets.

Cheniere, however, adapted to world markets differently between 2005 and 2011 as they reacted faster than anyone else when they saw the future of natural gas, not the present.  Before modern era hydraulic fracturing into the Eagle Ford and Marcellus shales had reached the ears and psyche of America, Cheniere adapted their LNG strategy to be a natural gas exporter.  In 2011, Cheniere had the approval they needed and long-term sales agreements locked up with some of the world’s largest energy customers. And now in 2015, Cheniere’s first liquefaction train for export is about to go online.  How did Cheniere come to be the first company licensed to export LNG internationally? Let’s begin our recap of Cheniere’s story in the year 2011.

Cheniere Sabine Pass LNG
Cheniere LNG Facility in Sabine Pass, Cameron Parish, Louisiana. This facility is being built by Bechtel, the 4th largest privately owned company in the US.  Bechtel is a construction company based in San Francisco, California.  Click to enlarge.

In 2011, the board of directors of Cheniere was different than it is today. Two of the board members of Cheniere in 2011 had some inside connections that may have helped with Continue reading “Cheniere – The First U.S. Company To Export Natural Gas (LNG)”