MOGPEF - Exploring Oil and Natural Gas through Education

Geologic formations of Michigan

Gas and oil - chemical compounds of hydrogen and carbon - were formed deep beneath the ground millions of years ago as part of the earth's evolution. Usually buried thousands of feet deep and locked in sandstone, limestone, or shale, oil and gas migrate up through the earthy until they are trapped by non-permeable rock formations. Science and technology are required to identify and locate these rock formations and extract the oil and gas.
Geologic map of Michigan

Stratigraphic Succession in Michigan

1. Traverse, Dundee and Richfield Formations

Production from the Traverse, Dundee and Richfield Formations has been found mostly in the central part of Michigfan's Lower Peninsula. Exploration and production in these areas dominated the Michigan oil and gas industry in the 1930s and '40s.

2. Trenton/Black River Formation

The Albion-Scipio Field of the Trenton/Black River Formation produces oil from a common source along a one-mile wide path in Calhoun, Jackson and Hillsdale Counties. The single largest field in the state, Albion-Scipio has produced 125 million barrels of oil since its discovery in 1957.

3. Niagaran Reef Trend

Discovered in 1968, the Niagaran Reef Trend (actually a series of fields) tripled Michigan's oil production and quintupled our natural gas production in the 1970's. The Reef Trend is located along a 12- to 15-mile wide path from Oceana County, through Kalkaska and Otsego Counties, to Presque Isle County. It also runs through southern lower Michigan, with production fields in Eaton, Ingham, Livingston, Oakland, Calhoun, Macomb and St. Clair counties.

4. Glenwood and Prairie de Chein Formations

The Glenwood and Prairie du Chein Formations are the deepest producing gas formations discovered to date in Michigan. The wells are drilled to depths reaching 11,500 feet. Exploration and development of these fields, which are located in the central part of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, was heavy in the 1980s. Counties with significant Glenwood or Prairie du Chein discoveries including Newaygo, Bay, Osceola, Ogemaw and Arenac.

5. Antrim Shale Formation

Drilling and development of this formation, which began significantly in the late 1980s, has again doubled Michigan's annual natural gas production. The Antrim formation, located throughout Michigan, is presently only commercially productive in the northern part of the State. To date, Antrim exploration and production has centered on Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Alcona, Oscoda, Antrim and Manistee Counties.