Day 5: Natural Gas, In and Out of the Ground

Gas In the Ground: Economic Equalizer, Environmental Question

Michigan stores more natural gas underground than any other state, a practice that allows for increased distribution during peak times and, according to utility companies, stabilizes energy costs. Of course there are always risks associated with such a system – a year ago, natural gas began leaking from an underground facility at Aliso Canyon, California. Over the next four months more than 97,000 metric tons of methane were released – the climate equivalent of burning 917 million gallons of gasoline. The incident exposed gaps in regulation and monitoring of natural gas storage across the U.S. The group learned more about the process from Michigan DEQ and the Michigan Environmental Council, and heard what’s being done to monitor Michigan’s supply and keep gas in the ground.

as Out of the Ground: Will Antrim Shale Ever Become America’s Next Big Oil Play?

The low price of natural gas and oil has suppressed exploration, but Michigan’s Antrim Shale is still producing in the heart of the Great Lakes Basin. What can Michigan’s oil and gas industry – and those concerned about it – expect when prices rebound and drills start humming again? The group visited  an active well pad to talk about the role of natural gas in Michigan’s energy portfolio, how some organizations are preparing for and trying to moderate a potential boom and how the Antrim compares to other shale deposits in the U.S.