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 Oil & Gas Monthly – February 2016

Niagaran Flare Stack

Each month, RMP publishes a detailed recap of oil & gas activity in the Michigan Basin.   This edition marks our 14th since our inaugural monthly edition was published in January of 2015. It’s time to follow up on a couple things we reported in 2015. One of the hot topics in our hometown Detroit newspapers and on our Detroit radio stations is the application for the Word of Faith 16-27 well targeting Michigan’s Silurian age Niagaran Reef. Jordan Development out of Traverse City, Michigan filed the application in October of 2015.

WordOfFaithOilWellComment1
This is an example of the bolierplate used by many of the people who submitted a comment in favor of the Word of Faith 16-27 well being permitted for drilling.  Click to enlarge.

What makes the Word of Faith 16-27 oil well different than many other potential Michigan wells is that it’s within the city limits of Southfield, which has a population of nearly 75,000 people. Often times when an application is received for a well in a heavily populated Metro Detroit city, the MDEQ’s OOGM will extend the application review process to hear comments from the public. The MDEQ has sole legal authority to permit any Michigan oil well regardless of symbolic gestures like a moratorium enacted by the Southfield City Council in effect until April 28, 2016. Only a court ordered injunction via lawsuit can Continue reading “Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly – February 2016”

Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly – December 2015

marathon oil hvhf beaver creek

The December issue of RMP’s Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly (MOGM) marks our 12th edition, our first full year of publications, and the final edition for 2015. The story for 2015 was this: oil & gas exploration in Michigan is at its slowest ever. It was the all-time slowest year in Michigan’s oil & gas exploration history beating the record set in 1931 for lowest permitting & drilling activity.   While the predictions RMP made last year were spot on target for Michigan in 2015, some unexpected things happened also.

Half-way around the world, Saudi Arabia’s 2015 actions to increase their own crude oil production to stave off US shale production have had a deep cutting effect on American oil & gas producers across the nation as well as right here at home.  As long as we rely on crude oil as an energy source, the King of Saudi Arabia can significantly impact a large segment of our energy economy which effects our national security and causes Americans to lose jobs.  Switching from internal combustion engines to fuel cells would fundamentally change the balance of world power as it relates to energy.  America can end its reliance on Saudi Arabia & other OPEC countries by responsibly migrating away from crude oil as an energy source. We have seen American oil producing companies lose major percentages of their net financial worth and layoff tens of thousands of American workers in 2015 because of Saudi actions.

chesapeake stock value drops 70 percent in 2015
Chesapeake has lost nearly 70% of its value in 2015. More evidence with hard numbers that supports what RMP has been saying all along about the oil & gas bust because of actions taken in Saudi Arabia to hurt American companies.

Another large scale international event related to oil & gas that will impact Michigan happened this December when President Obama Continue reading “Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly – December 2015”

Enbridge Line 5 Crude Oil Leak – North Straits Pump Station Near Lake Michigan Shoreline

The Enbridge Line 5 crude oil pipeline runs from Superior Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ontario.  Line 5 is a 30 inch diameter crude oil pipeline that is split into two 20 inch diameter pipelines at the North Straits Pump Station near St. Ignace.   The two 20 inch diameter pipelines proceed under the Straits of Mackinac about 1,000 feet apart reaching depths of 200 feet before reemerging in the lower peninsula.  The pipeline was commissioned in 1953 and has been in service for over 62 years.  As of December 2013, Enbridge increased the capacity of Line 5 to pump 540,000 barrels of crude oil per day.  This is 50,000 barrels of oil more per day than its previous capacity of 490,000 barrels of oil per day.  RMP has created an interactive “Line 5” Google Map that is embedded at the very bottom of this post if you want to skip right to the map or click here.

Map North Straits Pump Station
The North Straits Pump Station is located about 100 yards from the Straits of Mackinac on the northern shore of Lake Michigan at Point La Barbe in the upper peninsula.  The North Straits Pump Station is the last landmark of Line 5 before it dives into the Great Lakes freshwater system. Click any picture in this post to enlarge it and open a photogallery.

Enbridge Line 5 has recently been receiving more attention than it has in the past because the aging pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac present a major regional economic risk and an environmental risk to the Great Lakes freshwater system. Line 5 puts the Great Lakes freshwater system at risk of a cleanup that could potentially surpass the one billion dollar mark.  Economic losses could also occur in Continue reading “Enbridge Line 5 Crude Oil Leak – North Straits Pump Station Near Lake Michigan Shoreline”

Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly – February 2015

Welcome to Volume 2 of the Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly.   In the featured image above, a GasFrac Energy Services truck rolls westbound down I-96 in Novi Michigan on February 6, 2015.  GasFrac uses a proprietary waterless fracing process to fracture rock with a mixture of liquid petroleum gases.   The main ingredient in their frac fluid is gelled propane (C3H8).

We have seen a poor success rate recently in the A1 Carbonate in Michigan for operators targeting the A1.  Many recent A1 attempts in Michigan have made the HVHF list calling for millions of gallons of water for completion in the application.   Operators have changed their completion techniques on the fly and have moved away from such high volumes of water and hydraulic fracturing altogether; but still have had no success.   One theory is that the water is damaging the formation and it therefore will not produce.  Since gelled propane is a hydrocarbon (C3H8), it is soluble in the A1 formation fluids unlike water an perhaps may not Continue reading “Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly – February 2015”

Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly – January 2015

Welcome to the first ever edition of the Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly by RMP.   We will be publishing this monthly magazine / newsletter to keep you up to date on activity in the Michigan oil patch.  We will be taking a  look at Michigan hydrocarbon production and fresh water management.  This magazine, like everything else published at RMP, is free and will always be free.  The format will be an article like this one you’re reading with an accompanying video (like the one above) that showcases the same information.

Each month in this report we will be recapping basic activity & statistics from the prior month.  We have already published this post and this post to bring you up to speed on the basics of Michigan petroleum geology and Michigan hydrocarbon production.  As stated in the aforementioned posts, activity in Michigan is at its lowest level in recorded history since records started being kept in 1927.  So, there is not a ton of new activity to report in Michigan as most of the reservoirs we are aware of in the state are conventionally depleted and most new reservoirs found are modest producers as compared to other oil & gas plays in America.  The activity that is going on in Kalkaska, however, is different than anything that’s ever been done in Michigan.  So, even though permit numbers and activity Continue reading “Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly – January 2015”

The Keystone XL Pipeline

keystone xl

The recent mid-term election in America has brought the Keystone XL pipeline to the forefront of American politics again. Washington DC has enthusiasm and momentum to push through legislation that will approve the final phase of the Keystone Pipeline System: the Keystone XL. But how did America get involved between the National Energy Board’s ambition to get bitumen to China and other foreign markets? The answer is simple: Alberta is landlocked and a pipeline across America is one route to economically get the bitumen to China or other foreign markets.

Chinese flag

China needs energy. China faces many challenges to get enough energy to keep their economy moving and producing for over 1.3 billion people.   China has made some remarkable moves toward making clean energy recently when they endeavored to start building more IGCC plants for electricity production from syngas.  IGCC technology with Continue reading “The Keystone XL Pipeline”

Michigan Oil & Gas Exploration – A Look From 2014

au sable river
respectmyplanet.org
Have you noticed respectmyplanet.org? We’ve been mapping data related to Michigan’s natural resources and environmental protection.

Welcome to respectmyplanet.org’s first article in a long time published from the WordPress software application.   We’re glad to again be putting stories together that will help people understand more about oil & gas exploration in Michigan.  We have been reviewing Michigan oil & gas data for 4 years now.   We would like to share what we have learned from the past up through the present.  We would also like to write about what future oil & gas exploration might look like in Michigan as our public owned hydrocarbon resources become increasingly more difficult for private companies to recover for profits.

We have a series of posts planned for our oil & gas exploration category that will chronicle events in the Michigan oil patch since January of 2010 when drilling started on a well named the State Pioneer 1-3 HD1 in Missaukee county.  The January through April period of 2010 set the Continue reading “Michigan Oil & Gas Exploration – A Look From 2014”