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U-M technical reports examine hydraulic fracturing in Michigan
Date:9/5/2013

general public.

"Nothing like this has been done before in Michigan," Callewaert said. "Having this comprehensive, state-specific set of reports will be an invaluable resource that will help guide future decision-making on this issueand hopefully will help Michigan avoid some of the pitfalls encountered in other states."

Conclusions of the reports, which were written by faculty-led, student-staffed teams from various disciplines, include:

  • Technology. In view of the current low price of natural gas, the high cost of drilling deep shale formations and the absence of new oil discoveries, it is unlikely that there will be significant growth of the oil and gas industry in Michigan in the near-term future. However, considerable reserves of natural gas are believed to exist in deep shale formations such as the Utica-Collingwood, which underlies much of Michigan and eastern Lake Huron and extends into Ontario, Canada.

  • Geology/hydrogeology. A recent flurry of mineral rights acquisitions in the state associated with exploratory drilling suggests the potential for growth in natural gas production through high-volume hydraulic fracturing, though only a handful of such wells have been drilled to date. "Michigan is thus in a unique position to assess the future of high-volume hydraulic fracturing before the gas boom begins."

  • Environment/ecology. Potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on the environment are significant and include increased erosion and sedimentation, increased risk of aquatic contamination from chemical spills or equipment runoff, habitat fragmentation and resulting impacts on aquatic and terrestrial organisms, loss of stream riparian zones, and reduction of surface waters available to plants and animals due to the lowering of groundwater levels.

  • Public health. Possible hazards in the surrounding environment include impaired local and regional air quality, water pollution and degradat
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Contact: Jim Erickson
ericksn@umich.edu
734-647-1842
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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