Letter: Oil and gas production a family affair

Re: Michael Gerstein’s Aug. 29 column “Cheap prices halt Mich. drilling, kill oil, gas jobs”: This misses some important ways in which Michigan is not like the rest of the nation, and these facts are important to every Michiganian.

Michigan today is 18th among production states in the nation, and we historically have ranked in the mid-teens. This means most of the “big oil” companies don’t invest heavily here. In fact, the businesses in Michigan — the 800-plus members of the Michigan Oil and Gas Association — are mostly small, local, family companies, where making energy has put dinner on our table for generations. We live here. We care about our communities.

Our homegrown industry weathers the national highs and lows. Yes, new well drilling was down in Michigan this year, but it’s important to distinguish drilling from production. We produce energy from existing wells every day.

A recent economic impact study by Public Sector Consultants underscores how the industry is a key player in Michiganders’ quality of life. Michigan’s oil and gas industry contributed $13.6 billion in economic output to the state in 2015. Our statewide workforce includes more than 23,000 professionals, and our work supports an estimated 47,000 jobs overall, according to federal labor statistics. Look around your community’s green spaces and you’ll find the evidence of more than a billion dollars of oil and natural gas revenue enhancing every county of the state.

Michigan isn’t a big oil and gas state like Texas or Alaska. But our energy reserves are significant, our proven environmental regulations are a national model, and our future looks as stable and steady as our past. Most importantly, our work provides energy, products and improved quality of life for everyone in Michigan. MOGA members are proud of the role we play and the community benefits we bring.

Jeff Cook, Board Chair

Michigan Oil and Gas Association