Will Fracking be used in Montmorency County and if so where. Also if your...

Asked August 17, 2013, 5:51 AM EDT

Will Fracking be used in Montmorency County and if so where. Also if your property is enrolled with Headwaters Land Conservancey with an easement to protect it from development can that stop any fracking on your land, Thanks

Montmorency County Michigan

1 Response

According to the Department of Environmental Quality Office of Oil, Gas and Minerals (DEQ) there have been 12,000 wells hydraulically fractured in MI since 1952 and many are in Montmorency County. These are primarily vertical wells that are drilled into the Antrim shale, which are shallow wells, usually 1,000 to 1,500 feet deep. The necessity of fracing is determined by the geologic formation the oil and gas exploration company wishes to target. There are many different formations that are being produced currently. Where it is a shale, such as the Antrim or Collingwood, hydraulic fracturing is being used. If it is a type of geological formation that already has pores in the rock, other types of well development techniques are used and hydraulic fracturing is not required. For example, in southern MI the wells drilled into the Trenton-Black River formation, which are primarily oil wells, do not require hydraulic fracturing. I have seen some leases in MI where the company knew in advance the geologic formation(s) they were going to target did not require hydraulic fracturing. As part of lease negotiations, the mineral owner was able to add a stipulation to the lease document that hydraulic fracturing would not be used. Hydraulic fracturing is not used in every well. I think there are approximately 20 wells that have been horizontally drilled and then hydraulically fractured. Many of the horizontally drilled and hydraulically fractured wells are in Missaukee and Kalkaska counties.

For your second question, I am assuming that you have signed a conservation easement with the land conservancy. Whether or not oil and gas development is allowed is dictated by the language in the easement. Usually, the goal of the easement is to protect the land surface. In the case of the Collingwood shale, fracing occurs around 8,500 feet deep. Again, the extent of oil and gas development depends on what the conservation easement document allows.
If you would like to discuss this further you can call me at 231-873-6841.