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 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 – 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”

Wolverine Pipeline Maintenance At Holland West Middle School

wolverine pipeline

This post is a retraction of a post published by RMP last Sunday January 17, 2016.  RMP mistakenly posted a story about a gasoline spill at Holland West Middle School in Holland, Michigan.  There was no gasoline spill by Wolverine Pipeline at West Middle School.   The pictures RMP obtained of Terra Contracting Services remediating a petroleum sheen on surface waters on 12/31/2015 were not related to the excavation activity being performed by Wolverine Pipeline at West Middle School.  Half of the photos RMP published were of West Middle School and half the pictures RMP posted were a  different undetermined location.  RMP mistakenly connected the two sets of photos as at the same location.  Tom Shields from Wolverine Pipeline let RMP know the information that we published was erroneous and it was taken down immediately.   RMP regrets any false sense of alarm caused by the publication and wanted to immediately issue this retraction.

Here is the story of what has happened and where we are today with regard to Continue reading “Wolverine Pipeline Maintenance At Holland West Middle School”

Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly – November 2015

Michigan has issued 104 permits so far this year through November 20, 2015 and continues its streak of the slowest 6 years in a row ever for oil & gas activity. 14 of the permits issued thus far in 2015 are for pilot & horizontal combinations and should really only count as one.   The numbers through 2015 continue to support RMP’s forecasts and analysis of Michigan oil & gas activity.  With only 104 permits issued in November, it’s still very likely 2015 will be the slowest year in Michigan oil & gas history.  1931 currently holds the record as the slowest year for permitting in Michigan history at 111 permits issued.

According to the US Census Bureau, petroleum as a percentage of the US trade deficit is still at 13.7% even with major production increases in oil production due to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
According to the US Census Bureau, petroleum as a percentage of the US trade deficit is still at 13.7% even with major production increases in oil production due to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

Michigan produces less than 5% of the refined oil products purchased by Michigan consumers. Michigan is ranked 19th in crude oil production in the United States out of 31 producing states. Collective US production of oil from all 31 producing states supplies about only half of the crude products US consumers purchase. The US only holds 2.2% of world crude oil reserves. Recent increases in US production of crude because of technological advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing are certainly remarkable and have made a large dent in imported petroleum, but we still only produce about half of the crude oil processed in US refineries.  Oil as an energy source is simply not sustainable even at the currently boosted levels of production.  The USA will perpetually remain in a Continue reading “Michigan Oil & Gas Monthly – November 2015”

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”